Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Guide to Social Media Lingo

Have you ever been stumped by the use of certain social media vocabulary? Here’s how to bluff your way through a conversation with 12 social media terms found on the Internet today. 

Creeping:  A light form of safe and appropriate stalking, via Facebook. You might be reminiscing about the one who got away, so you look him or her up just to see how much they have aged.

Tweedos:  Your Twitter followers. Twitter is a microblog, meaning you have only 140 characters per message, or tweet, that goes to all of your tweedos.

Hangouts: Where you and your friends can virtually “hangout” on Google Plus without leaving your La-Z-Boy. On Google Plus, you and eight friends can video chat in real time. You can share documents or even share your screen. Currently, it’s free, but you must sign up for the upgraded Google account. It is perfect for that small committee meeting.

Pinning:  A form of liking certain pictures, quotes, recipes, etc. — all with the click of the mouse on Pinterest. Highly addictive, Pinterest allows you to create virtual bulletin boards for anything you want. For example, you might start a board for potential vacation destinations or recipes you wish to try.

Unfriend:  The act of technologically unfriending, or deleting, someone via Facebook rather than face to face. 

Hashtag (#): Remember when a pound sign literally meant a pound sign? Now, it’s a hashtag, which is used on Twitter for marking keywords or trending topics in a tweet. 

LOL: It doesn’t mean “xoxo” lots of love, but rather laugh out loud.

Tagging: We aren’t talking about the “tag you’re it” game, though it works similarly. On Facebook, tagging is identifying your friends who are in a certain picture with you. It is like naming them in a caption for the yearbook. The picture is then placed on their Facebook page for even more people to see. 

The famous “@” sign: Don’t worry readers, the @ sign is still used for emails, but also to address Twitter users. 

Mayor: If someone other than Nancy Hunter says they’ve been declared mayor, don’t panic. They are probably talking about FourSquare, a social media site that marks online where you are in the physical world. If you walk into your favorite restaurant, you can check into FourSquare. 

Trend: Also “trending,” is reaching beyond wardrobes and into your social media sites. Trending can be known as talking about the same topic or sharing the same link — on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

Farming: Now don’t get excited when your children use this term. It does not mean going outside and planting seeds. It’s the term found on Facebook for playing Farmville, a virtual farming game. However, it is not the farming we are used to in Stephenville, Texas. 

Learn these 12 terms and you are bound to sound like a social media guru during your next Facebook post or Google Hangout. 

If you have a question about social media, email TSMRI at texassocialmediaresearch@gmail.com. The Texas Social Media Research Institute, based at Tarleton State University, is a cross-discipline collaboration focused on social media. Intern Brooke King authored this column.

Note: This post was originally published as a column in the the Stephenville Empire-Tribune and is reprinted with permission.

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