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Do You Speak The Language Of Social Media? [Comic]

Working in social media in my day job and my night job, I spend a LOT of time around social media geeks.

The other day, I overheard an entire conversation that was so full of social media lingo and jargon that it was like a whole new language.

It went something like “If we post the blog should we tweet about it in the same hour? Or should we wait so we can attribute it to the RSS feed and email list who receives the new post notification?”

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While I understood what the terms meant, I asked myself what I would think if I were an executive at a company that just didn’t understand social media. Would this whole new language irritate me? Frighten me?

Would I be concerned that a new generation was talking in terms that I just didn’t understand?

This question was a pretty straight-forward one if you are somewhat involved in marketing or technology.

But, what if I threw a few more social media terms in there like “pin, post, share, like, gram, snap, and chat”? I could literally make a cohesive sentence that sound something like this:

If we post the tweet and then pin the image, we can also gram and snap it in the same hour. If we do that, we can measure the likes, favs, and shares to see if the blog is performing as we expected. Later, we can embed a video to see if subscribes increase.”

If you’re into social media, that entire sentence probably made sense. If you aren’t into social, it probably sounded like Klingon.

Think about it for a second. From an age perspective, a lot of company executives still fall in the “Boomer” generation. For them, the following terms had completely different meanings:


To you – A message that you sent on Twitter.

To them – A noise that a bird makes.


To you – The post you just shared on Instagram.

To them – The measurement of weight using the metrics system.


To you – Your latest blog article or Facebook message.

To them – Could mean mail, could mean a newspaper.


To you – A good thing because your content is being share rapidly.

To them – A bad thing because they are going to need a shot.

…and I could go on.

Is your social media jargon making it difficult for others in your company to understand you?This guy is trying to figure out what a measurement of weight has to do with sales…

How does this sentence make you feel --> If we post the tweet and pin the image, we can also gram and snap it in the same hour. Then, we can measure the likes, favs, and shares to see if the blog is performing. Click To Tweet

So here’s a tip to all those who are working to educate their leaders and organizations on the value of social media.

While helping them understand the terms is important, don’t make your conversations overly cryptic with a lot of jargon. Consider your audience and their understanding of the space and try to help them understand what specific terms mean and why they’re important.

Use business terms and explain how social media works using stories and case studies. Heck, take some time to learn some of the marketing terms they are used to and translate those into modern-day activities.

If you can show the value without all the jargon, you’ll have a much easier time selling it in and your execs won’t think they have to take a class in Klingon just to engage.

When you are helping other understand the value of social media, be sure to use business terms that the other person understands, not just social media jargon

Have a funny story about social media jargon? Have a tip for helping your company leadership understand it? I’d love to hear about it in a comment!



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Is your social media jargon confusing your co-workers, clients, employees, or boss?

Phaedra Stockstill

Sunday 6th of January 2013

Spot on Sean. I personally believe in taking it out of the clouds and using some down to earth examples. There are many correlations that can be drawn to help those not as involved in social as we truly understand it. If the entire point is actual communication ~ why create stumbling blocks to accomplishing that end?

Sean R. Nicholson

Sunday 6th of January 2013

I agree Phaedra! If folks don't understand the value behind social media, why make it harder for them by using a lot of jargon terms and phrases.

Thanks for the comment!

Cheers! --Sean

Kasandria Reasoner

Monday 15th of October 2012

Great comic! Kas


Sunday 14th of October 2012

When they like me they follow me like fans, they might pin some of my stuff and fav some of my tweets (that's when a w takes its importance). I have a lot of klout but could use more instagram. I msn but I don't digg. I rarely have time for my farm ville anymore. If you stumble upon me, it's cool; if not just xeeme, ok? Lately am on trust cloud.

Brad | The Uber Geek

Sunday 14th of October 2012

LOL! Awesome comic! it is funny the unique language we all speak when we talk about social media.


Sunday 14th of October 2012

Did you watch the 1st presidential debate? Coverage on PBS included one social media correspondent. It appeared to me that most of her commentary was met with glazed-over eyes by the other correspondents. It is very important to know your audience, but I suppose her audience was not the other correspondents. I chuckled about it.