A dialogue: Beth and Greta discuss the 10 tips for talking about social media

Improve your social media terminology

We are currently big into building out our social media presence, so this seemed like a great time to share with you all the language we have picked up since we started. Forgive us if this blog ends up being a bit of a buzzword fest – but this is social media, and it seems to me that it’s all a bit overwhelming at times. Luckily, I have at my side my trusty side kick Greta. Not only is she Head of Client Engagement here at ee, but she is also responsible for our social media and it seems to me that she’s far more comfortable with a tweet here and a blog post there than I am. 

Greta – Oh I don’t know about that. You’re pretty good at it for a silver surfer. 

Beth – Hey watch it! For the sake of our listeners I would like to point out that I am not yet a silver surfer – or a senior citizen that uses the Internet. I am Generation X. But Greta you are Generation Y, right? You are a Millennial? That makes you a lot more tech savvy that me, doesn’t it?

Greta – Well before I answer that why don’t we look at that vocabulary? Generation X were born before 1984. So yes I am certainly Generation Y - but we are also referred to as Millennials. And you’re right Beth, Millennials are considered to be more comfortable with using technology and of course social media networks to communicate. We are more savvy - which is taken from the French verb Savoir – meaning “to know”. So yeah, I would agree, that we are more digitally native or maybe just a little less frightened because we grew up with all these tools. 

Beth – So Greta as our social-media, savvy, Millennial expert at ee, what would be your first tweet of advice?

tweet 1 – know your vocabulary

Greta – Ha ha! Well, actually I would say having the right vocabulary is the most important. So far we have already covered off Millennials, savvy, and digital natives. These are words we use to talk about the people that interact with the Internet. But of course, they interact with social media sites – and they can do it through posts, blogs, podcasts, sharing links, walls etc. 

Beth – OK but I think each social media site kind of has its own language, right? Because if I am right, on Facebook you have a post and then your friends can like or unlike it. And you communicate by posting on people's walls. On Twitter you have a tweet which is a max of 140 characters and then if someone takes that tweet and shares it with someone else this is called retweeting. And we don’t call the people on Twitter friends, they are followers right?

Greta – Yeah that’s right.  And it’s the same with instagramers (as we call them). The people on Instagram they have followers as well. But its different on LinkedIn. There you have contacts that you connect with. These are not friends or followers. 

Beth – OK. Right that’s helpful. So what’s a Hashtag? 

Greta –  I feel like I am being interviewed. 

Beth – Alright chill. Why don’t you FUTAB. 

Greta – What?????

Beth – FUTAB - Feet Up And Take A Break. It’s a cool internet-savvy, social media, millennial acronym. It means let me take over for a second. 

Greta – Oh…. Got you!

Beth – I think, if I have understood correctly that a Hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by or starting with a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic. Like #Brexit or #munichmarathon. But I must say that it is now used a lot colloquially (or in informal dialogue) because my girlfriends and I use it to be sarcastic. So I might say… “Today all I have managed to do it get up, go to work and go to bed.” And my best friend Zena would say “Hashtag get a life”. 

Greta – Yeah that’s exactly right. And spammers, who are the people that are trying to get as many followers as possible, use popular Hashtags to get people to click even if they have no connection to the subject. An example might be #free shoes and then the link goes through to a carpet shop. 

Beth – Exactly. So, vocabulary is really important and I think we just gave our readers some of the basics. (They are all in bold, people :))

tweet 2 – know your acronyms. 

Beth – So let's move on to acronyms because this is my tweet number 2. Acronyms are really important on social media particularly on Twitter where you are limited to the number of characters you can use anyway. 

Greta – Exactly. What was the one you used earlier? 

Beth – Frau Bruner… are you asking me for social media advice? 

Greta – Ha ha!

Beth – I used FUTAB, Feet Up And Take A Break. Do you know any others?

Greta – I think the most common ones that we have used now for years are things like ROFL – Rolling On The Floor Laughing and TMI – Too Much Information and FYI – For Your Information and OOTO – Out Of The Office. But the latest ones that you need to know are AMA which means Ask Me Anything. This comes from Reddit, where the community can ask someone any question they want and they will answer. FB is used for Facebook, BRB means Be Right Back. AFAIK – As Far As I know. 

Beth – One of the ones that I am using a lot now in some of our English first corporate content is FTW – For The Win. Showing excitement at something. I use it mostly seriously but you can also use it sarcastically. Like “I tripped over my shoe yesterday and hit my nose”. And your friend answers “FTW”. This is very popular. GTR – Got To Run is good for showing you have to go. And my absolute favourite at the moment is IANAL – I Am Not A Lawyer. 

Greta – That’s great. I’ve not heard that. A lawyer is a someone that represents you in a legal case. These days everyone could use a lawyer. We’re not lawyers are we Beth?

Beth – Nope. We’re English language experts. Which brings me to tweet 3 - a little bit of grammar. 

tweet 3 – prepositions

Beth - Greta if I list some verbs that we need when we talk about social media could you do me a favour and give me the correct preposition. 

Greta – I’ll try my best. 

Beth – Integrate...

Greta – with

Beth – To integrate your site with social media. That’s right. 

Beth – embed...

Greta – into

Beth – That’s right. To embed your social media icons into your website. 

Beth – upload

Greta – to. To upload a map to your website.

Beth – to link…

Greta – To linkto a site but we link through to the information on another site

Beth – Great. To download

Greta – from.  We download the press release from the website.

Beth – to post...

Greta – to post on someone’s FB site. 

Beth – to share...

Greta - Now I think that one depends. To share information on something and we share information with our friends on FB. 

Beth – good point. 

tweet 4 – B2C vs. private usage

Greta – But this could be a good stage to come to tweet 4 because how we talk about social media does depend a little on whether we are using it in a B2C (Business to Consumer) or in a private context. For example, you would say share your photos with your friends when you talk about your holiday photos privately. But in the corporate arena,  companies might say to circulate or distribute or publish images.

Beth – Oh that’s a super good point. And there are so many more examples of corporate language when it comes to social media. In business we say to reach the audience or the target group.

Greta – Yeah. Meaning to grow our number of contacts or followers. 

Beth - We attact an audience

Greta – Yeah that’s right. Attract or appeal to an audience means to try and engage with them. 

Beth – That’s another great word. To engage – meaning to excite or get someone interested in a brand. 

Greta – Yeah!. Then we try and engage followers in dialogue

Beth – That’s right. Where we try and get consumers to publish opinions or write about their experience of using a product or service. And companies often talk about building a social media presence – which means that they do not have a a company profile on social media sites and they want to start so that they can begin to attract more followers. 

Greta – Another common one is go viral. If a campaign for a business goes viral it means that it gets spread over the sites or distributed so quickly that in seconds they have millions of views. That’s also a very common expression. 

Beth – Yeah! Do you remember when Fenton the dog went viral? Or what was that song??? Um… dam dam style something like this. 

Greta – Gangnam style. 

Beth – That’s the one. You know that was the most spread viral video ever. And in 2017 after 5 years it stopped being the most watched video on youtube. 

Greta – That’s insane! 

Beth – I know. So Greta what would be your tweet 5?

tweet 5 – know your people nouns

Greta – I think our readers also need to know the important nouns for the people interacting on social media with one another. Like influencers. 

Beth – Yeah! What is that about?

Greta – An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.They are usually in a particular niche, which they actively engage with. The size of the following depends on the size of the niche. But Beth, you should know that these individuals are not simply marketing tools, but rather social relationship assets with which brands can collaborate to achieve their marketing objectives.

Beth – So what is a grassroots activist? 

Greta – You tell me! 

Beth - Well I think these are the people that create great power in numbers by bringing together a lot of people on social media and uniting them behind a cause. Grassroots movements refer to the unofficial communication that comes bottom up regarding a brand or service. For example, there is a grassroots movement to get uber banned because it exploits cheap labour. There was a grassroots movement to choose the name for the 5th in the line to the British throne. 

Greta – Ah yeah. I read about that. 

Beth – Kate and Will ignored it of course. They went for Louis. That’s a nice name. 

Greta – Cute! I am a liker of that. Thats also social media language by the way. Likers and haters. A hater is someone who voices negative opinions about other people. It might be inspired by jealousy or boredom. The advice is usually to just ignore them. 

Beth – And then there are bloggers and vloggers. 

Greta – That’s right. A blogger we all know but vloggers use videos to blog. That’s seriously popular at the moment. 

Beth – And you know those funny pictures with text on them? Those are memes. They are a fun way to make people laugh and often end up going viral. 

Greta – We could create a meme for executive english. 

Beth – That would be cool. We could use that famous phrase that came from the comedy series on Bayern 3 "Fränglish mit Loddar". They used the term “again what learned”. 

Greta – Great! And we could put different images of our clients learning highly specialist words in English and they could hold up posters and we could use the slogan “again what learned with ee” underneath. 

Beth – Cool meme. And it’s a bit of a mash up too. 

Greta – Whats a mash up?

Beth – A mash up is when you bring together two different ideas or words and try and create something new. This is very popular on social media. Like snapchat. They have taken the word snap meaning a photo and put it with chat to create a new word a mash up – snapchat. 

tweet 6 – know your platforms

Beth – Which leads us into a conversation around tweet 6 which is know your platforms.  

Greta – Yeah! Snapchat is big with the teenies. One of the principal concepts of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are only available for a short time before they become inaccessible. 

Beth – I really don’t get that.  

Greta – Well here’s one I know you use. Whatsapp. It’s not a social media site. Instead It’s called a social media messenger. The application allows the sending of text messages and voice calls, as well as video calls, images and other media, documents, and user location. It’s the third biggest in the world.  

Beth – Oh is it? So is Facebook and youtube number 1 and 2? 

Greta – Yep. Facebook Messenger is number 4. They have just bought Whatsapp by the way. And Instagram is 6.

Beth – And what do you do on Instagram?

Greta – Basically share photos. 

Beth – So it’s like pinterest. 

Greta – Well that’s a bit different. Because pinterest allows you to pin photos that you find on the Internet and put them in a folder that others can see. With Instagram you share images with your followers directly. It’s a great sales channel as well. A lot of people buy clothes and products through Instagram. 

Beth – So what’s Tumblr?

Greta –Tumblr is a microblogging and social networking website. Basically, the service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog (micro meaning small and blog). Users can follow other users' blogs.

Beth – Ah so its Instagram for words? 

Greta – Ha! Basically yeah! And you referred to Reddit before. What’s that?

Beth – My husband loves it. It’s cool actually. It features breaking news and lots of chat areas built around interests. There’s this section called “Explain like I’m five” - which makes complex things simple. 

Greta – Beth can you explain executive english like I’m 5? 

Beth – um… yer…. executive english is like a playground for mummies and daddies that want to learn English. They have the football and we help them kick it better so that they can speak better English and their boss won’t take their jobs away. 

Greta – Nice!

tweet 7 – technology

Greta – So what’s tweet 7 then?

Beth – Well, I think we need to tell our readers a little bit about the technology of social media sites. 

Greta – Like RSS feed for example?

Beth – Exactly. What’s that?

Greta – It stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a type of web feed which allows users to access updates to online content in a standardised, computer-readable format. These feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator. Which means that whenever there is an update on their favourite site they are notified or told about it. 

Beth – Cool. And there’s a big rise now in social media management software. Which is the software that automates the updating of social media sites for companies. It also tracks followers and shares information across sites. 

Greta – That’s a biggie. Instant messaging was obviously a great breakthrough for Facebook and Whatsapp. And of course facial recognition was a big hit as well – Facebook uses it to keep a digital record of what your face looks like and when unknown users are “tagged” in a photo – Facebook is able to suggest who they might be. 

Beth – That’s spooky! But you can turn it off. By the way on the subject of spooky -  what about Cambridge Analytica? That’s a very, very interesting story. They basically were running software that Facebook ran to manipulate people into voting for Brexit and Trump. What they did is they harvested people’s profiles and built algorithms to exploit people’s motivations and perceptions. I actually read, Greta, that the software was able to synch with Facebook and with just 20 activities such as what a user likes or posted or visited or who they were friends with - they could tell if you were a Trump voter or not. They can tell your sexuality… it's incredible. 

Greta – Good job they’ve been shut down. 

Beth – Too right. But you know what: This is a natural development in software as AI becomes more embedded in our day to day internet tools. In this case it was used apparently negatively. But it is generally very smart and it is the future that machines will be able to read what we think and feel. I think it’s pretty cool really. 

Greta – Not cool for you as an English national living in Germany

Beth – Yeah! And not cool for you as an American with a fake news King as President. 

Greta – Fair point. 

Beth – So what’s tweet 8 then?

tweet 8 – advertising

Greta – Well I think you can’t talk about social media without talking about advertising. At the end of the day it is free for everyone to set up an Facebook account. So where are these guys making their money? Advertising fees. Social media advertising, or social media targeting, are advertisements served to users on social media platforms. Social networks utilise user information to serve highly relevant advertisements based on interactions within a specific platform. In many cases, when target market aligns with the user demographics of a social platform, social advertising can provide huge increases in conversions.

Beth – So help me understand the language you just used there. What’s a demographic? 

Greta – That’s a group from society. Like Millennials or house wives or sporty people aged 40. 

Beth – And what does relevant mean?

Greta – That’s a huge buzz word at the moment. Relevant for your audience or customer means – you only show them or give them what they want. You are of interest. Your business is relevant. 

Beth – And what are conversions?

Greta – Conversions are when someone buys something or responds to a link in other words the investment that the advertiser makes pays off. The target converts. 

Beth – I see and what does to align to a user demographic mean?

Greta – To align means that Facebook provide the advertiser with all the information that they have that might interest the advertiser. So maybe if you sell expensive soap you ask Facebook to give you a list of females, aged 30-50, who have responded to advertising to beauty products. If Facebook have this information then all those profiles are aligned to the advertisers search criteria. Facebook have had to update all their data protection regulations to inform users that they do this. But the thing is users don’t really care. The benefits of connecting to such a large group of friends are higher than the negatives, or what we call drawbacks, which is having their data shared with third parties. 

tweet 9 – data protection

Beth - So let’s make tweet 9 data protection because in Europe at the moment the information we hold about our users is going to be regulated more closely. This is called GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation. So now in Europe, at least, companies are having to be a lot more careful about telling their customers or users what their privacy policy is and how their data is shared. 

Greta – That’s great!

Beth – Yeah it is. Some of the elements of it are really cool. Like you have to be able to prove that you can’t associate an IP address with an email address. But of course for marketeers that’s really challenging because they are losing a large part of their insight into customer behaviour. 

Greta – Yeah!. But If I am right, aren’t a lot of the social media sites just going to get us all to opt in for this and then they can carry on doing it anyway? 

Beth – Yep exactly! The good news for companies that use social media sites such as Facebook is that such platforms will have privacy notices built into them. So as long as we opt in – things will just carry on as normal. 

Greta – But there’s a pretty big fine if you get it wrong or as we say in English - don’t comply. 

Beth – Yep. €20 million or 4 per cent of turnover – whichever is greater. Hummm…. That’s harsh. 

Greta – Let’s spin this round to a less corporate conversation. How can our readers learn English through social media, Beth?

tweet 10 – use it to your advantage: Learn English

Beth – Awesome question. I have loads of fast tips here. You?

Greta – Absolutely – let’s take it in turns to list them. You start...

Beth – 1. Change your settings in Facebook and set the language to English. 

Greta – 2. Like Facebook pages that have great English content like Buzzfeed or The Guardian for news. 

Beth – 3. Follow a Twitter group that is interested in learning English. There are so many cool and useful exchanges to be found there. 

Greta – 4. Follow news on Twitter. Make sure it’s a theme you are interested in that way you will be sure to read it. 

Beth – 5. Update your LinkedIn profile. Try and hit 100% completed. You will learn a lot of English as you go. 

Greta – 6. Start a microblog in English on Tumblr

Beth – 7. Follow global companies you are interested in on LinkedIn. Their posts and updates are all in English. 

Greta - Hey Beth – we’ve done it again. 10 great tweets for talking about social media. 

Beth – Yep. Not bad. Lets wind this down and Greta...

Greta – Yeah?

Beth – DFTBA

Greta – What??????

Beth – DFTBA – Don’t Forget to Be Awesome!