SUMMARY. ICYMI, BAE, FWIW, doxing, dark social – are you familiar with these acronyms and terms that are commonplace on social media? It’s become digital short-hand communication that needs to be understood to deduce the content and context of messages posted on social media. Here is a guide to assist you in learning social media speak.

ICYMI (in case you missed it), there are numerous terms, acronyms and other types of shorthand ubiquitous in the realm of social media. Here is a list of the common jargon you can expect to find on your favourite platforms to prevent you from having FOMO (fear of missing out.) 


Social media terms you need to know in 2021



‘Connections’ are the LinkedIn equivalent of Facebook ‘friends. Why? LinkedIn is a social networking platform where professionals of any industry can connect with each other. They could be contacts that you’ve met, heard speak, done business with, or know via another connection. It’s important to note that it isn’t a place to post your lunch for the day or the activities you and your friends got up to at the weekend. You’re representing your personal brand which needs to be credible. Connections are categorised by: 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree.


Finsta is not a new platform (although it sounds cool.) It’s short for “fake insta” and is the term that describes an individual’s secret or fake Instagram page.


A lurker online is a term that describes a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or another interactive system but rarely or never participates in the discussion. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual has malicious intent, but it may be worth monitoring their presence and any messages/content they post. Don’t confuse a lurker with a troll.

A troll/trolling

A troll is an individual (or group) that attempts to instigate conflict, hostility, or arguments in a social community. Their numerous motives stemming from personal grudges with other people to blatant politically based disruption. A troll has malicious intentions and it’s recommended that if you are a victim of trolling, don’t interact with them at all because this will stoke the proverbial fire.

RSS Feed

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a protocol (an XML text file) that keeps a running list of recently uploaded content. Publishers can syndicate a feed, which allows users to subscribe to the content and read it at any time from a location other than the website.

Social Selling

Social selling is an approach geared towards leveraging members of your social networks to find and build relationships with prospects with a higher chance of turning into customers. Through the loyalty and trust created, Building and retaining customer relationships is easier. According to LinkedIn, social selling can be broken down into four pillars:

Create a professional brand

Focus on the right prospects

Engage with insights

Build trusted relationships

Dark post

It may sound ominous, but dark posts are targeted ads on social media that don’t appear on your timeline, like boosted and organic posts. They also don’t show up in the feeds of your followers. Rather, they show up as sponsored content in the feeds of users you’re targeting specifically.

Dark social

Dark social is a term that describes web traffic coming from social media whose source couldn’t be tracked. This is often due to users sharing links privately on social chats or direct messages. According to Falcon, “often, one of or even the biggest source of traffic is filed under ‘direct.’ This traffic is not necessarily, as the name suggests, primarily made up of people typing URLs into their browsers. Instead (at least according to Madrigal), it’s mostly traffic that comes from people sharing links to your site, but in ways that are not measured by analytics tools.”

Disappearing content

Disappearing content (also known as ephemeral content) refers to posts, usually photos or videos, on social media that delete themselves automatically after a certain period ­– usually 24 hours. ‘Stories‘ is a form of disappearing content used by popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. It’s a valuable social media marketing method to increase audience interest and engagement due to the sense of urgency it promotes.


Geotargeting is a social media marketing tactic that adjusts targeted ad content based on the users’ location. For example, a restaurant or retailer can geo target their ads to pop up when you are within a certain radius.

An Influencer/influencer marketing

An influencer is someone who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience.

The extent of the following depends on the size of their niche topic. On a surface level, influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing by which influencers (individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as authorities within their niche) endorse or mention brands’ products and/or services.

READ: Do I Need to Add Influencer Marketing To My Business Strategy?

Content curation

Content curation involves sourcing and adapting existing valuable and relevant content to provide value for their audiences. It’s an effective way to let you reassure your audience you’re actively listening to them by providing content they want to consume. It plays a significant role in community and lead nurturing. It can also be used as a means to build relationships with other brands, thought leaders and influencers.


Crowdsourcing can be seen as a digital focus group in which a group of people can generate ideas or give input into a task, project, service and/or product. The idea is to accumulate as much information as possible from a prospective customer base. It is a perfect way to introduce your brand and foster relationships with prospects who will reciprocate through brand loyalty, trust, and purchases. An example could include inviting followers to vote on the potential names you’ve chosen for your latest product and/or service.


Newsjacking (also referred to as trend jacking) is a tactic that businesses use to capture audience attention and interest. In a nutshell, they reference a news item or trending topic to communicate with their audience within the context of that story. A typical way to connect content to breaking news is through hashtags. It’s essentially an invitation for the audience to join in the conversation and give their opinion. E.g.

Newsjacking can assist in increasing organic engagement with your brand, specifically attracting customers who might not otherwise have seen your content. It would be best if you had a robust sales funnel strategy in place to capture and nurture any leads generated via the content. Newsjacking can also refer to aligning your brand with existing newsworthy content to add value to readers. 


Doxing is the malicious practise of deliberately searching for and publishing an individual’s personal information. Boxers use these digital assaults to threaten or terrify their victims. If you find yourself in this predicament, contact the ‘help centre’ of the specific platform to report the abuse.


Sentiment is an emotion-based marketing tactic used to determine what users think and feel about your brand on social media. Data can be captured, analysed and interpreted from the feelings and attitudes contained in those posts.

URL shortener

A URL shortener is a tool that condenses a long URL into a shorter, more social media-friendly format. Popular URL shorteners such as can also provide tracking capabilities, allowing businesses to measure critical metrics such as click-through rate (CTR) from that specific link posted on the relevant social media platform.

15 popular social media acronyms

Acronyms are synonymous with social media. It allows users to communicate information, status, questions and/or feelings in as few keystrokes as possible. Here are 15 acronyms that you’ve likely seen on social media platforms.

  • AMA: “ask me anything”. It’s used to prompt questions from other users.
  • #FYP: (For Your Page) – #FYP is a hashtag that TikTok users place in their videos to prioritise their content on other users’ “Your Page” feed. This is essentially the same practice as content curation.
  • AFAIK: As Far as I Know
  • BTAIM: Be That as It May
  • DAE: Does Anyone Know?
  • TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read
  • POTD: Photo of The Day
  • IMO: In My Opinion
  • IRL: In Real Life
  • FUTABA: Feet Up, Take A Break
  • FWIW: For What It’s Worth
  • FYI: For Your Information
  • DYK: Did You Know
  • BAE: Before Anyone Else
  • ELI5: Explain Like I’m 5 (years old)

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