The Newcomer’s Guide To Facebook And Twitter

Posted on August 29, 2013 by

Social media has become so popular that it’s almost strange to meet someone who doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account. But still, there are tons of people who, for their own reasons, have never ventured into the world of social networking.

If you’re one of those people, and you’re thinking about creating an account, then you might feel a little intimidated if all your friends already know the ins and outs of how these sites work. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you out. We’ve created a list of common terms that you’ll encounter on Facebook and Twitter so that you won’t have to worry about figuring them out after you sign up. Check them out below!



You’ll often hear people say, “So and so friended me today.” Friending refers to sending or receiving a friend request. Defriending, on the other hand, refers to the act of deleting another Facebook user from your friends list.


These are privacy settings that determine how much of your profile is visible to the public. If someone’s profile is public, it means that anyone on Facebook can see their page, regardless of whether or not they are friends.


Tagging occurs when you identify your friends in a photo or post. When you upload a photo, it gives you the option to tag people by clicking on their face and typing in their name. Then, whenever someone is viewing your photos, they can hover over the names, and it will show them who’s who.

News Feed

Your news feed is what you see on your Facebook homepage. It’s just a list of your all friends’ recent activity.


When you subscribe to someone’s profile, you’re telling Facebook that this person’s updates are important to you, and you want their activity to stand out in your newsfeed. You can also unsubscribe to certain friends’ updates, which is often a good alternative to defriending someone altogether.


Facebook’s graph is the site’s search tool. It’s one of their newest features, and it allows users to tailor their search in order to get super-specific results. You can literally type, “People under 25 who live in San Diego and like baseball,” and a list of exact matches will pop up.


The word “creeping” has become a popular term to describe the act of aimlessly browsing around Facebook to look at other user’s profiles. It usually happens when you’re bored, and you just jump around from profile to profile looking at people’s pictures, and before you know it you’ve wasted two hours and ended up on someones page who you’ve never even met.



A tweet simply refers to a post made on Twitter.


Your handle is your username that people see when you tweet, and it’s preceded by the “@” symbol. Some users create random handles, while accounts, like those belonging to celebrities or companies, will use handles that allow other Twitter users to easily identify their respective profiles.


Trending refers to hot topics that are being talked about on Twitter. On your homepage, you’ll see a box on the left that has a list of words or phrases that are “trending” at that very moment.


Hashtags are the words you see that have the “#” sign as the first character. These tags allow Twitter to categorize and track which topics users are tweeting about, which is why a lot of the items on the trending list will be hashtags.


RT is short for retweet, and refers to the act of re-posting a tweet from another Twitter user.


DM is short for direct message, which is an option for private correspondence among Twitter users.


Like Facebook, your Twitter homepage is what users call their “feed.” It’s a real-time list of all the tweets posted by the users you’re following.


A mention on Twitter is similar to a tag on Facebook, except it’s not for photos. You can mention any of the users you’re following simply by adding their handle to your tweet.

So, there you have it, we’ve made you a cheat sheet of all the most common language surrounding Facebook and Twitter. It takes most people a few months to learn what all of these terms mean, but luckily you’ll be able to create your accounts and get right down to business without having to worry about learning the lingo.

Justin De La Cerva is a blogger from Seattle, WA. He specializes in writing about common social media terms and best practices. 

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