A guide to English vocabulary related to social media Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Culture, English Vocabulary

I am no social media guru, but I thought I would put together a list of important terms in English related to social media, since I know you all use social media, and using social media is a great way to practice your English! In fact, if you are reading this blog post you are using social media right now. I hope the terms listed below are helpful to you in better understanding and navigating social media in English. Enjoy!

General terms:

chat – communicating in real-time through computers or smart phones, by writing messages back-and-forth, this is communication involving two or more people

chat room – an  area within a website where ‘chats’ happen

emoticon – a pictorial representation of a facial expression, which is used in writing to help the reader of a message know the writer’s emotions, for example 🙂 or :-/

messaging/instant messaging/IM –  this is like chatting, but is on-line communication, generally only between two people and sometimes this is not done in real-time

URL – this stands for Unique Resource Locator; it is the technical term for a web address like

viral/to go viral – anything that is shared in social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) and gets passed along to many people very rapidly it viral, to go viral is verb to talk about this happening, for example: This Transparent Language blog post has gone viral!

wiki – a web page, or group of pages, that can be edited or changed by a group of people, a web page with many contributors who are not paid for their contributions

Blog related:

blog – a personal or professional website which is updated on a regular basis with an individual’s or company’s thoughts/ideas/opinions and/or educational information (You are reading a blog right now!)

blogosphere –  the entire world of blogs on-line and the conversations or information sharing taking place within the blogs

comments –  most blogs allow readers to add their own thoughts or opinions, by leaving comments; this is a way of giving feedback to the writer of the blog

subscribe  – this is like becoming a fan or a member of a blog; subscribing allows a person to be notified when new blog posts are written, it is the on-line equivalent of signing up for a magazine

Facebook related:

meme – this is the name of a pictures that also has writing or a message on the picture; these are often shared on Facebook (often abbreviated FB); this term also means any idea, style or action which spreads through mimicry.
This is a meme from Facebook:

like’ – this is exactly what it says, if you ‘like’ something on Facebook, by clicking the ‘like’ button, it means you like it; you can ‘unlike’ something you have previously liked, but you cannot ‘dislike’ on Facebook

news feed – on Facebook this is the center column of a person’s home page; it is constantly updating with new stories and information, pictures, and events from friends.
If you ‘Like’ Transparent Language at then we will appear on your news feed!

tag – this is the action of attaching a person’s name to a picture of them on Facebook; for example, someone might say to you “tag me in that photo on Facebook”, by this they mean ‘add my name to that picture so other people can see this picture of me on Facebook’

Twitter related:

hashtag – a word or group of words that starts with  number sign (#) and is used to group together similar ideas and topics; for example #firstworldproblems

trending – a word, phrase or topic that is popular on Twitter at any given moment

tweet – a message sent on Twitter

Check out Transparent Language’s social media offerings by clicking here or here.

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.


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    thank you for your considerably made internet site it helps a lot

  2. Judith:

    Really useful list – will be very helpful for a lesson on social media with my intermediate class. Thanks!

  3. Millie Bortin:

    Both the terminology and your blog will help me explain things to my Intermediate High adult ESL class. Thany you.

  4. Mruthunjay:

    Thanks for your Blog

  5. M.E.:

    Thanks for this. I am teaching a rather out-dated textbook and this vocab will be a good addition for my advanced ESL students.