Social Media 101: What Do All Those Funny Words Mean?

Social Media 101

Is your face on Facebook? Are you Twittering like a warbler? Do you blog? Do you have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about?

Wherever you are on the social media spectrum, you probably know that this phenomenon has a language all its own. We’re not publishing an unabridged dictionary here—just a few definitions of common terms and acronyms that might cut down on some confusion and move you a few steps farther up the social media ladder.

As a point of information, we’re dealing only with generic terms in this article, not with trade names such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google. We will be discussing the use of these tools in detail in future blog posts.

(as in “There’s an app for that.”) Short for application or application software that’s designed to help you perform any number of tasks. For example, your smart phone came with a whole package of built-in apps that give you everything from the current weather and temperature to the stock market report. You can download apps (many of them for free) that find addresses and maps, order lunch, or play music.

A graphic image and/or username that represents you in various online forums and social networks. “Andysellshomes” would be a typical Realtor avatar.

Business to business, meaning that your web site or other electronic communication is designed to sell products or services to other businesses.

Business to consumer means you’re selling direct to the end user.

Originated as a combination of web+log = weblog. An online diary or journal, usually produced by an individual or small group on a specific topic or area of interest. Microblogging is a variation, referring to very short items such as posts on Twitter or Facebook. WinningAgent is a blog.

An electronic version of a book. Most ebooks are not actually available in hard copy form (unless you print them yourself). They are typically published as PDF files.

No, not the gang you meet after work at the local sports bar. Friend is a  Facebook term for any individual you want to see your Facebook profile and communicate with you. Sometimes used as a verb, as “I’m going to friend Sally.”

Going viral
Content that’s shared across social networks in a rapidly expanding fashion. For example, some You-Tube videos pick up millions of viewers around the world in a matter of minutes.

A globally recognized Avatar. Once you have one, your image will follow you as you visit and comment on different websites, forums and blogs. Setting up one is easy, go here, sign up and get one for yourself. Once you have it, leave a comment in the box below and you will see your Gravatar along side your comment.

An action you can use on Facebook show approval instead of writing a comment about a message or a status update. You can use this function to promote activities or events to your readers. For example, “Big fundraiser for the food bank this weekend. Click “Like” if you’re going.” How about clicking here and “like” my WinningAgent Facebook page.

News feed
Literally, a feed of news. On Facebook, the News Feed is the homepage of your account where you can see all the latest updates from your friends.

RSS feed
Stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a type of news feed used to publish frequently updated content like blogs and videos.  People can subscribe to an RSS feed of your blog, for example, and read it when they please from a location other than your website (such as a reader service like Google Reader).

Search engine optimization means attracting more web site traffic by using words that drive your site near the top of search engine site lists. For example, a Realtor would use terms like “homes for sale,” “bank-owned properties,” “short sales,” or “land for sale.”

A web-based seminar. A webinar is a useful tool for Realtors because it allows you to conduct live meetings, trainings, or client presentations via the internet.

A small app that improves the functionality of your web site. For example, you can download a hit counter that tells you how many people visited your site, how long they stayed, and which pages they viewed.

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