Social Media Cheat Sheet

Feel #sick when people start talking about what’s going viral? Is traffic just something you sit in during rush hour? And what’s the difference between a meme and a GIF, anyway? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with a beginner’s guide to some of the most popular social media terms.

  • Check-in: An action on social media that lets users tell their followers their physical location. It’s usually denoted by a balloon-like image.
  • Filter: An effect used on an image to alter or enhance it, like a sepia or black and white filters.
  • Follower: Someone who subscribes to your account to follow your posts.
  • GIF: An image that can be static or moving that presents something humorous. GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format.
  • Handle: Your username and identifier on a social media account.
  • Hashtags: The pound sign. Adding a hashtag to a word or phrase helps to categorize the content of your post. Hashtags are searchable and good hashtags can actually increase your traffic on the website. #awesome
  • Like: A button you click when you enjoy a post. Usually it’s the word “like” or a heart-shape.
  • Meme: These are viral internet images that have a certain theme. (Some popular examples: “Doge,” “Willy Wonka,” and the “Socially Awkward Penguin.”) Generally, a user alters the caption to the image to fit his/her own experience, but keeps the theme the same. The term “meme” was originally coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins to describe how certain aspects of a culture are spread from person to person.
  • Mentions: When someone includes your profile in one of their posts (similar to tagging).
  • Platform: A particular social media site.
  • Tag: Adding someone to your post, whether you add their name to a photograph or to a status. Normally, a tag will appear after the main content of the post preceded by the word “with.”
  • Traffic: The amount of people visiting or interacting with your account and posts. You should be using social media to drive traffic to your website, not necessarily stopping at getting traffic on your Facebook page.
  • Trending: A post/image/story/hashtag that has gained popularity and is being used or shared by many people. Trending topics are usually displayed on the side of a platform’s newsfeed.
  • Troll: A person who seeks to get a rise out of users on a platform through annoying or inflammatory posts. (Not to be confused with a bot, a programmed robot that processes information faster than humanly possible and can give your computer viruses.)
  • Viral: A piece of content that spreads online rapidly with thousands of viewers. (Think the “Charlie Bit My Finger” video.)
Marisa Mendez is an an editorial intern for Remodeling and ProSales. See more of her stories at