Key Terms in Social Media


Social media is a growing and constantly changing field. It is also a field that needs further study. Due to its ever-changing nature, it can be overwhelming at first. In an effort to help those new to the field of social media, we have developed a list of common terms used in social media studies. We know that this list of terms is not comprehensive, nor could it be considering the evolving field. We hope, however, that the terms provided here offer students, academics, and professionals interested in this field of study a basic understanding of the major terms and key players in social media today.



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We have organized the terms by category, rather than an alphabetized list, to aid readers in navigating a potentially overwhelming subject. Though these categories could have been divided up differently, we feel the chosen categories cover the major components of social media and are categories universally acknowledged as key components in the field. Our categories include Online Communities, Usage, Theories, and Technology Types. We also have included sections for Experts (biographies of the leading scholars within the social media field) and Additional Resources (a list of links to articles that offer more information on social media that might be useful to scholarly study).

Scott Singleton, Jessica Price, Walter Elmore, and Zola Matingu (Kennesaw State University)


This project is the culmination of terms compiled during a graduate course on social media as part of the Masters of Arts in Professional Writing program at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. Many students contributed to this list of terms during the course of the semester. The four students listed as authors were responsible for organizing, verifying, editing, and designing the layout of the final product. Because it was a collaborative effort, the authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of their professor, Dr. Letizia Guglielmo, and their classmates: DeLain Climmons, Mark Gardner, Lance Hansard, Julia Mann, Sarah Poulsen, Ana Sosamorasso, and Amanda Zubrowski.