Whether you’re on it or not, there’s no denying the massive impact that social media has had on our culture, especially over the last decade or so. If you’re a millennial like me, chances are you remember the agony of choosing your MySpace (upper case S) top eight and coming up with a pithy instant messenger away message. If you’re newer to social media, however, you might find this definitive list of social media AP styles and terms useful before you send out your first tweet or create your first funny hashtag.
handle A self-selected, public-facing username on a social network, most notably on Twitter. May be used interchangeably with “username.”
Twitter A microblogging platform that allows users to post updates of up to 140 characters to their followers, including photos, videos and links to outside content. The verb is “to tweet,” “tweeted.” A Twitter message is known as a “tweet.”
friend, follow, like Acceptable as both nouns and verbs. Actions by which users connect to other users on social networks. “Friend” and “like” are typically used on Facebook, while Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram users “follow” and have “followers.”
Facebook The world’s most popular social network. Users can share content in the form of text, photos, video clips and links to websites, and also can use the service to communicate with one another privately, form groups around topics of interest, play games and promote businesses and organizations.
Instagram A social network in which users share photos or short videos they’ve taken, usually on phone, with people who have chosen to follow them. Some users apply filters to Instagram images to make them appear old or otherwise stylized, and hashtags are sometimes used to help users find photos related to particular topic.
hashtag The use of a number sign (#) in a social network post to convey the subject a user is writing about so that it can be indexed and accessed in other users’ feeds. No space is used between the number sign and the accompanying search term.
Pinterest A social network in which users collect and share images from the Web in theme-based collections, also known as “pinboards” or simply “boards.” Images that are shared on Pinterest – or pinned – are sometimes referred to as “pins.”
selfie A self-portrait photo generally taken with a camera-equipped phone or webcam.
emoji Symbols including cartoon faces, hand gestures, food and animals, often used on mobile devices such as smartphones. They can be used instead of words or as illustrations in text messages and in social media posts. Plural: “emojis.”
mention The inclusion of a username in a social media post created by another user. The user who’s been mentioned will generally be notified that this has happened, so a mention can be used as a way to get someone’s attention.