Lingo 101

December 26th, 2009 by | 15 Comments

Jumping into social media is more than blogging, commenting and tweeting—it’s a culture shift. It’s real time, all the time. So, learning customs and lingo is more than half the battle. Because of this it’s hard to learn what someone means by ‘I got poked’ or ‘she’s a contact, not a friend’ and ‘I posted on their wall, but I didn’t tweet him’. Let’s go through some definitions one social media site at a time.

Social networking is a branch of social media, and we’ll focus on networks in this post.

1. LinkedIn is focused on being your ‘professional network’. Therefore, the main terms they use are contacts and recommendations. I’ve received emails from people thanking me for the recommendations and requests to be a contact- but what does that mean?

Recommendation: An online- public- reference from an identified peer, coworker, supervisor or students that validates, confirms and even sometimes supports the work, attitude or skills of an individual. Why would you do this? This is a great opportunity to display to current and potential employers how other people feel and see your work.

Contacts: This can get tricky. Think about this tool like a job networking tool- online. I probably won’t add my little brother’s best friend from middle school that likes to talk about how we all used to go to Six Flags together. We can be ‘friends’ (Facebook) but not contacts- unless he has a professional side to share.

2. Twitter is a micro-blogging site. What’s a micro-blog you ask? On this particular one, you can write anything- in 140 characters or less, and that includes spaces. On Twitter you have tweets, followers, people you follow, hashtags, direct messages (DMs) and retweets (RT).

Tweets- This is a verb. This is what you do. Tweeting- is the action of posting your 140 character response to Twitter’s ‘What’s happening?’ question.

Followers- these are people that want to get your posts and responses to Twitter’s perpetual question ‘What’s happening?’. When they ‘follow’ you, they want an interaction and connection.

Following- This is the list of people that you are wanting to see answer Twitter’s question ‘What’s happening?’. This is a great time to ask yourself who or what industry you want to receive feeds from. Personally, I follow bloggers, local businesses and even some friends from college.

Hashtags- When you put the ‘#’ symbol in front of a word, or consecutive words connected without a space; this will connect all the other hashtags with the same label. Example: working in education and technology? How about putting the ‘#edtech’ hashtag at the end of your posts to connect to other edtech topics? Or if you are a social media addict (like me) or have industry information try ‘#socialmedia’.

Direct Message (DM) – This is a message that you can send on twitter that only the recipient can see. You’re still limited to 140 characters though.

Retweets (RTs)- This is an amazing thing actually. If you see a tweet that you like, find relevant to your followers, or would just like to share- you retweet. This can be done by selecting the ‘RT’ option on the actual tweet, or you can copy it into your ‘What’s happening?’ space type out ‘RT’ in front of the tweet and add an ‘@’ in front of the person that originally posted the content. It’s like giving credit. Click here for a sample.

3. Facebook. This network was created in a Harvard dorm room. This is where people can have a ‘fun’ space to friend one another, share pictures and more. Some common Facebook lingo includes friended/friending/defriending/defriended, poke, message, status and tag(ged).

Friend- Previously I said that I wouldn’t have my little brother’s best friend from middle school that likes to talk about how we all used to go to Six Flags together for a  LinkedIn contact. On Facebook, it’s different. The goal here is to connect with people on a more personal, fun level. So, if someone ‘friends’ me they want to be connected to me. They can see my profile information, photos, posts that people make and more (unless I alter privacy settings, but that’s another blog post entirely). When it comes to defriending/defriended- that means that you’ve been dropped. So, depending on their settings, you won’t have access to their information anymore (Facebook can be a little dramatic).

Poke- All this means is that someone virtually poked you and it will appear on your ‘home screen’. This isn’t a bad or derogatory thing, it’s just for fun. Personally, I have poking wars… and a few have lasted about 5 years now.

Message- This is another way to contact a person, a group or a group of people directly. If you only want a certain group, person or fan base to receive a message, this is the option for you.

Status- This is a box that is next to your name. Like twitter, it asks you to answer a question: ’what’s on your mind?”. People can read:

Tag(ged)- This is can be one of two things. 1) Someone posted a picture and connected it to you, so you better make sure it is you, and you don’t mind being connected, or 2) you’ve been tagged in a status update! You can only be tagged in either case by your ‘friends’

*This is not the entire list, just a glimpse. Make sure to follow me on twitter, and RT this article! Now, you know what all that means.

What lingo do you use/hear?

Kristina is based in the Twin Cities and eats and breathes social media. Her love for technology’s influence on culture can be found here.

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