25 Social Media Terms You Should Know in 2021

If there's one thing that's certain, it's that social media is ever-changing, and so are the words we use to describe it.

Scrabble letters on a board that spell social media.

The last time we blogged about social media terms, it was 2017. So, we figured it was time to update our lingo list.

Want a blast from the past? Read our 2017 edition of social media terms you should know.

Since 2017, Snapchat Spectacles came and went, Instagram launched IGTV and Reels, TikTok burst on the scene, and even more.

While there are far more than 25 social media terms that are important to know, I’ve found the terms below specifically useful, and I hope you do, too!

We present you:

25 social media terms and abbreviations you should know in 2021

While your Story might disappear from Instagram 24 hours after you post it, you can find old Stories using Instagram’s Archive tool. To find your Archive, go to your Instagram account, tap the ☰ button, and select “Archive.” From there, you can add old Instagram Stories to a highlight, view Story analytics, save Stories as videos, re-share to your Story, and more.

Bio/Bio Link
“Link in bio” is seen a lot on Instagram and refers to the editable link users are able to add in their profile information. A lot of users utilize their bio link as a way for followers to read an article, go to a website, or view a user’s additional social media accounts.

A TikTok challenge is encouraging other users to record themselves doing a specific thing or action, like the intuition challenge.

Cheugy is a word used by Gen Zers to describe a person who follows out-of-date trends (fashion, decorations, social media captions, etc.). It’s pretty much another word for basic. While we’re all likely a little cheugy, you never want to be caught being cheugy on social media accounts you manage for a brand. Learn more about cheugy.

Dance credit: Often used on TikTok to give credit to a choreographer/creator of a dance.

Direct message: A private message on social media.

Double tap
A double tap refers to the action of double tapping or clicking on a post on Instagram or TikTok. Users can double tap instead of physically pressing the like “or “❤️” button.

When a TikTok creator builds on another creator’s video, and the two videos play alongside each other at the same time. Here’s a Duet example.

This is Instagram’s fancy way of saying, “photo album.”

When you don’t want your Instagram Story to disappear after 24 hours, you can add your Story to a Highlight on your Instagram profile. We use Highlights on CSU’s Instagram account for important information, like public health/COVID updates, or fun/themed content, like traditions at CSU.

Inspired by: Another way to give credit to a content creator, especially on TikTok.

Instagram launched IGTV as a feature on Instagram as a way for users to post long-form video (up to 15 minutes). Instagram even created an IGTV standalone app.

One of my followers: Used often on TikTok.

Profile picture.

Pinned post
When a user or creator pins a post, the social media platform keeps the post at the top of the user’s account, so when others visit their profile, it’s the first post they see. It’s used often on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

Facebook introduced reactions to give users more options than just “liking” a post. Reactions include: like, love, care, haha, wow, sad and angry.

Instagram created Reels as a way to compete with the short-form video sharing network, TikTok. There are some definite differences between Reels and TikTok videos, but it’s a classic ripoff move by Instagram.

Saved posts
Instagram now allows users to click a save button on posts for users to add to their own private “saved” feed that they can return to later. We often use the save feature when we want to save a picture to use as a UGC post later.

Shadow banned
Being shadow banned means a social media platform, like Instagram, is limiting or restricting content created by a user without the user knowing. This usually happens when a user has violated community guidelines or their content is viewed as inappropriate.

When a TikTok creator uses a clip from another creator’s video in their own video. Here’s a Stitch example.

Stories are another classic ripoff move by Instagram to compete with Snapchat. Users can add 15-second videos or pictures to their Story, which can only be viewed for 24 hours before it disappears. This type of content is also known as disappearing content.

Swipe up/Sticker
For years, Instagram allowed users to add links to their Stories, which could be accessed by followers swiping up on the Story. However, Instagram recently introduced a new link sticker in Stories and removed the swipe up feature, potentially rendering the term “swipe up” useless.

Stickers are found in Instagram Stories and include engaging features like Q&As, polls, quizzes, links, etc.

That feeling when

When I think of a thread, I think specifically of Twitter. While Twitter still has a character cap of 280, Twitter now allows users to create threaded tweets, which is a series of connected tweets. This really comes in handy when you have a lot of information to share that won’t fit into one single tweet. Using a threaded tweet allows you to group the relevant information together that can be easily followed by another user. Here’s an example of a threaded tweet.

User generated content

Gen Z hashtags and emoji meanings

As a little bonus, here are some hashtags and emojis that are “in” (for the time being) with Gen Z.

👉 👈

Dying laughing/dead from laughing.

Gen Z has taken our skinny jeans, side parts, and now the 😂 emoji. Yep, the 😂 emoji is out, though I try to bring it back everyday (and I’ll never stop trying).

✨ [word] ✨
Emphasis on a word, can be used ironically.

Taking notes

Shock, staring, anger, surprise

For you page – used by creators who want their videos featured on TikTok’s For You feed.

A popular hashtag on TikTok that creators use with the hopes of having their content seen by more users.