Social Media for Dummies

Written by 5ivecanons Staff

Ever wonder what tumblr is, or what it means to vlog? Well we are asked those questions all the time, and decided it best to put together a short guide to common online terms.


Facebook is a social networking site that connects people by allowing them to view, upload and tag accepted friends in photos, send them messages, posts, create statuses, chat, share links and play games. The site allows users to create groups and events where friends on Facebook can be invited.

Like: This is one of Facebook’s most iconic features. To like anything on Facebook is a simple way of showing approval or agreement with content. The amount if likes your content gets is a easy way to determine its popularity among your friends.

Messenger: Facebook allows you to chat with any online friends. The communication began as one-to-one, but Facebook later extended it to groups of people.

Newsfeed: This is a feed where all the posts from you and your friends are found. The posts are organized by based on relevance and time.

Notifications: Alerts on Facebook notifying the users of any new interactions, ie, a new friend request, a new event invite your a new message.

Wall: Your profile’s personal feed. All content you post on Facebook is displayed on your feed. Your friends can also reach you by posting on your wall.

Post: A user generated piece of content. It can include text, photos, music, videos and applications.


Twitter is a micro blogging and news site where users publish 140 character messages which can include videos and pictures.

Tweet: A 140 character message sent to all your followers, and visible to all. A tweet can include other people by tagging them with a “@” symbol and can be categorized by topic with “#s.”

Follow: A way of ‘subscribing’ to another user’s content to receive their tweets.

Timeline: Information feed which displays all the tweets of the users you follow.

Retweet: Simply means to republish another user’s tweet to all your followers. A retweet includes the original poster’s handle unless you erase it.

Trending: A word, phrase, or topic that is popular on twitter at the moment.

Mentions: To include another user in your tweet.

Hashtag: Hashtags are words using “#” (the pound symbol) before them to identify a specific topic. #hashtags are ways to follow trends, and search for specific content in social media.


Tumblr is a microblogging social network where users create profiles they populate with images, posts and videos of whatever they like on the internet. The user can create their own content, reblog the content or find it on the web.

Reblog: Similar to a retweet, reblogging republishes content on Tumblr to your subscribers.


Instagram is a web photo-sharing application that lets users create profiles, like and comment on photographs and record 15 second videos. Instagram became popular because of the vintage and stylized filters users can add to their images and video. It is now owned by Facebook, and has begun rolling out a new marketing platform.


Pinterest is a photo and lifestyle sharing site based on pinboards. You can create as many boards as you’d like, and populate those boards with images known as pins. You can find pins around the internet, on Pinterest or upload your own. Pinterest has been the fastest growing social media network thus far.

Pin: A Pin is an image posted on Pinterest from the web or uploaded by a user. Pins are collected on Pinboards.

Repin: This is similar to a retweet, a reblog or a repost. It means you are taking an existing pin from another user and posting it on your board, open for the public to see.

Pinboard: Organizational method on Pinterest where you Pinboards hold scissor.


Google+ is a social networking platform owned by Google. The site recreates how users share information in real life by compartmentalizing information for different people. Specific groups on Google+ with which you share information. You can have different circles who only see certain things you post. For example, you’d have circles for Family, Colleagues, Co-Workers, etc.

Hangout: Video service on Google+ which allows you to video chat with up to 10 users at a time.


Flickr is a social photo sharing site where users upload images and organize them in folders which can be set to public or private. Users can also join groups which can also be public or private. Users create profiles.


LinkedIn in Social network for professionals. The site allows you to connect to other professionals you have worked with and endorse their skills.

Connections: In LinkedIn, this is the amount of users you are connected with.

Recommendations: A professional recommendation that is visible to any users viewing your profile, regardless of their connections.


Foursquare is a geosocial application that allows you to share your information with friends. The app also allows you to ‘check in’ to locations and connect with friends who are nearby. Players are awarded different badges for checking in to certain locations.

Check-in: An action users take using their mobile phones to virtually check-in to a location. This action is shared with everyone in that user’s network.

Badge: A badge is a digital achievement given to users on Foursquare for using the platform. Badges range from newbie (your first check-in) to mayor (checked in the most to a certain location). View the full list here.

YouTube: A video publishing and sharing platform where users upload videos. Users create a profile where they can create video playlists and organize the videos they have created. Users can also comment on videos and subscribe to users they like to receive have their video show up on their subscription feed.

Glossary of Terms

Share: To take content from one page and post it somewhere else.

AddThis: Social media bookmarking service that can be imbedded to any site via code. The code ads social buttons to your site that allow visitors to share the page with the AddThis widget on their social profiles.

Widget: Supplemental web application that enhances a site.

Bitly: Is a free URL, web address, shortening service that tracks social engagement by measuring the amount of times the link has been used.

Blog: Short for “web log.” A blog is an online document made of words, images, videos and music. It can be hosted by individuals or companies and many websites specialize in free blogs.

Creative Commons: Corporation that makes it easier to share information on the web by creating consistent rules of copywritting. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work.

Klout: Measure social media influence. The score is out of 100.

Meme: Internet term for describing a thought, idea, joke or issue online. It usually include an image with some text overlayed to add context.

Permalink: A link to a specific post in a blog or website.

Podcast: Is an audio or video file that is not streamed over the internet.

Tag: To label content.

Digg: Social news site that allows users to submit websites for other users to vote on. The articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site.

Disqus: Commenting system with built-in moderation for any website.

Forums: Messaging boards where users discuss issues of common interest.