Top tips to navigate social media


For something that has been around less than two decades (Facebook was founded in 2004), social media has taken a remarkable hold around the world. In fact, it’s become an accepted part of daily life for millions of people.

Given the nature of social media sites, it’s not surprising they have created a whole new language of their own. If you want to participate, it helps to be familiar with it. Here are some of the terms to know.


Friend request. The process of linking to another person on Facebook. A friend request is sent by one person, and once it has been accepted, both people can see what the other is saying on their page.


Posts. Refers to anything you put on your social media page. Originally, it was generally just a text comment, but now posts include photos, humorous images (known as memes), and videos.


Hashtags. The symbol (#) that is added to posts on social media sites, usually Facebook and Twitter, to identify specific topics. The intention is to create enough other posts with the same hashtag that the topic starts to “trend.”


Trending. When a topic has such a large number of hashtags that it becomes one of the most popular items on the site. Social media sites usually list the top trending topics, and these change on a regular basis.


Following. On Twitter, you can see other people’s comments on your own page by following them. You can look at what other people are saying without following them, by looking at their pages, but they will only appear on your page if you decide to actively follow them.


Tweet. A post you put on your own Twitter page. Twitter is designed to be a concise means of communication, and tweets are limited to 280 characters.


Trolling. When people are attacked on social media with abusive or derogatory comments. It can be a major problem and is something that deters some people from engaging with social media sites.


Flaming. An argument on a social media site. It can start with an inoffensive comment, but quickly escalate if someone takes a comment the wrong way. A drawn-out argument between two people on a social media site is known as a flame war.





Facebook has become the dominant force in the world of social media, and for millions of users, it is a valuable option for keeping in touch with family and friends.

Along with posting comments, Facebook is also excellent for publishing photos and videos. It is definitely a social media site that covers all the bases.



A number of photo-sharing social media sites have emerged over the years, but the dominant one is Instagram, known colloquially as Insta. Founded in 2010 and now owned by Facebook, it was initially launched as an app to be used on iPhones. 

It has since expanded and is now widely available on all platforms with app and website options. Because it’s designed for users to upload photos instantly from wherever they are, the app version on a tablet or smartphone is probably your best option.



Launched in 2006, Twitter is a site that is designed to enable you to display and share short messages, up to 280 characters. This is also known as micro-blogging.

Messages on Twitter are known as tweets. You have to register on Twitter to post tweets, but you can read them without registering. Photos and videos can also be shared on Twitter.


4 more fun social media sites to try:

Even though you may not use a lot of the social media options that are out there, it is good to be aware of them, if only to keep up with what your grandchildren are talking about. Here are some favorites.


1.  Snapchat. A messaging service that allows users to send text, photos, and videos to their Snapchat friends, or groups of people. Once these are accessed, they generally remain visible for a short period of time, and then they are deleted. Users can also create stories of chronological content.

2.  TikTok. A video-sharing social media site that has gained great popularity through the fun and quirky videos that are posted there.

3.  Pinterest. A virtual pinboard where users can upload and “pin” items of interest, such as text posts and images. It is designed to enable users to find a range of interests and ideas.

4.  Reddit. A social media news aggregation site. Users can post links, text posts, and images, and the site’s users vote on them in terms of popularity. They are then ranked on the site accordingly.


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  • FC&A Staff Writer