New Terms Sparked by Social Media

Today it’s almost unheard of to not have an online presence on social media. There are over 1.8 billion active users on Facebook, 317 million monthly active users on Twitter, and more than 100 million daily active users on Snapchat. Social media has transformed the way we live and the way we speak.

It’s not only changed the way we might shorten words like LOL (laugh out loud), BTW (by the way), and FYI (for your information), but there are new words created to describe life online. If you're learning English, it helps to know everyday vernacular like this so you can use it in casual conversations with your friends. Take a look at our list of popular social media terms below.



This is the section of your profile or account, which is a short description about who you are and what your account is about.

Eg: When creating an Instagram account, don't forget to fill out your bio information. 



This is where bloggers or journalists will try to think up interesting, weird, and wacky headlines for their articles. The idea is that it will sound so interesting the reader will feel compelled to click, visit a particular website, and read the article!

Eg: The ‘what superhero would you be’ quiz has real clickbait potential.


social media headlines
What sort of articles do you read on social media?


Direct message

This is where people can contact you directly on social media. This is different from tagging them in a post or writing on their wall, which is usually public.

Eg: I wanted to tell my friend a secret, so I thought it was better to direct message her.



This is a book that exists only on the internet or within your electronic device. Books like this can be downloaded from a publisher or bought for very cheap.

Eg: Every morning on my train ride into the city I read my e-book.



This is a term to describe the people who like your business page on Facebook.

Eg: We’ve got so many fans after I created a video about what our business does! 



Followers are similar to fans although they may follow a business on social media they love (think a flower shop that posts beautiful pictures of bouquets or a travel company that posts amazing pictures from all over the world), they could follow an individual who posts interesting articles and pictures, or a blogger who writes about interesting topics.

Eg: Some of the most famous celebrities have millions of followers on Instagram.


social media computer
Even children are learning how to read and understand social media at an early age!



This is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format and acts as a moving image. People usually create funny GIFs of anything from animals to celebrities.

Eg: Did you see that Oprah GIF? It was so funny!



Oh the dreaded hashtag! Some people understand exactly how they work and others have no clue. The idea is to add a hashtag before certain words in order for your piece of content – whether an image, post, or video – to be indexed, searched, and found online.

Eg: I’ve been looking at images with the hastag #London and the pictures that are coming up are amazing – they’re from all the different parts of the city.


Live streaming

This is when a video is being uploaded onto the Internet and becomes immediately available to watch as it’s happening. Its content in real-time.

Eg: We didn’t have the football match on TV so we decided to live stream it and watch it that way.



One of the most popular phenomena’s to sweep the world this century; a selfie involves your own handheld device to take a picture of yourself. Phones have even accommodated this by creating a button on a phone to swap the camera lens, so you can even see yourself take the pic.

Eg: Ah lets take a selfie with the bridges of Venice in the background.


Take a selfie and upload it to social media
Selfies are quickly becoming the preferred method of taking a picture



This is the internets way of saying something is popular, to describe a person or topic as trending means real people are discussing, tweeting, and sharing content related to that topic.

Eg: When Germany won the Football World Cup in 2014, they were trending online – everyone was talking about it!



This is when a piece of content receives a huge amount of awareness and popularity. People instantly share the piece whether an article, image, or video meaning thousands of people see it within a really short space of time, it spreads on the Internet very quickly.

Eg: Did you see that viral video about the dog that loves to take a bath? I’ll send it to you if you haven’t seen it!



A vlog is a video and blog combined. Instead of a traditional blog post, sharing information can be done on a video too. The vlogger talks directly to the camera and may be addressing questions or topics that interest their subscribed readership.

Eg: My friend is really into vlogging, she talks about travel tips and uploads videos from around the world. 


What other English terms do you recognize from social media? Do any of these seem confusing or did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments below!

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