Make Social Media Jargon Your Bestie



IRL, TBT, SMH...the endless abbreviations on social media today make my head spin! These are just a few examples from the rapidly growing body of new words and phrases used online. Thankfully, knowing the meaning behind all of the ridiculous (and lazy) acronyms may not prove important - at least in your digital advocacy work. Now, I wouldn't recommend you memorize a list of 117 glossary terms, but you do need to keep up to speed with at least some of the new terminology.

Everyone has to start somewhere, so why not start with these five? Master them and maybe you'll be ready for Level Two!

  1. Engagement: Engagement refers to the total number of times people interact with your content. Instead of reach, which states how many people saw your message, engagement tells you who felt compelled to act. Whether they clicked your profile or retweeted your post, engagement shows whether or not your content resonates with your advocates.
  2. Followers: This term indicates how many advocates receive your social media updates. Followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook remain critical to engagement online. The more followers you have, the more advocates who see your messages.
  3. Influencer: Influencers on social media have a large following and can raise awareness about your issue. Influencers can boost your following and increase your online presence.
  4. Hashtag: To connect your posts to a larger conversation, add hashtags. Whether you use an event hashtag like #IPSummit, or a topic-based hashtag like #IntellectualProperty or #diabetes, these play a critical role in contextualizing your content.
  5. GIF: These short, looping, soundless videos play on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. In fact, users post 23 million GIFs to Tumblr each day. You can use GIFs to show your organization's personality or even animate your latest report data.

These are just a few of the social media keywords every digital advocate should know. What digital terms do you use the most? Tell us in the comments. And looking for explanations on more social media jargon? Check out the resources at the Digital Advocacy Institute.