The language of tweets and hashtags: A bilingual mini-glossary of social media terms

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Posted: 
February 28, 2018
Written by: Chantal Potvin , Language Portal of Canada

If I told you I added a “hashtag” to my Tweet or that I posted a “status update” on Facebook, you’d probably know what I meant. But what if I told you that I was a “wikipedian” or that my latest “vlog” was online? Would you know what I meant then? Maybe not!

Today, we use social media to make it easier to share content, collaborate and connect with people. But social media platforms have a language all their own, and if you don’t know it, using certain platforms can be a challenge.

Here’s a useful table that will help you understand the meanings of certain social media terms. The table also gives you the equivalent French term. So the next time you tweet in French, you can say you added “mots-clics” to your “gazouillis” instead of “j’ai tweeté des hashtags”!

 
English-French mini-glossary of social media terms
English term French term Definition
chatting clavardage (masculine noun) A real-time texting conversation between users over the Internet.1
unfriend désamicaliser;
décopiner;
amiradier
To remove a person from your list of friends or contacts.1
geotagging data données de géomarquage
(feminine plural noun)
Information that associates a geographical location with photos, videos, messages, etc.1
emoticon;
smiley
émoticône (feminine noun);
binette (feminine noun);
A symbol or an image that represents the mood of the person sending the message.
tag étiquette (feminine noun) A keyword added to a picture, video or text in order to classify its content or identify a person.
Note: In French, the term used on Facebook is “identification.”
crowdsourcing externalisation ouverte
(feminine noun);
externalisation à grande échelle
(feminine noun)
The practice of making use of the creativity, intelligence and expertise of Internet users to carry out a particular activity.
home timeline fil d’actualités
(masculine noun)
On Twitter, the chronological stream of all the tweets from any accounts to which a user has subscribed.1
news feed fil de nouvelles
(masculine noun)
On Facebook, the centre column of a user’s homepage that contains status updates, videos, photos, etc.
twitterer;
tweeter
gazouilleur (masculine noun),
gazouilleuse (feminine noun)
A Twitter account holder who reads and posts tweets.
retweet;
RT
gazouillis partagé
(masculine noun)
On Twitter, a tweet that a user forwards to his or her followers.
status update mise à jour de statut
(feminine noun)
A new post on your personal profile.1
Note: Term used on Facebook.
hashtag mot-clic (masculine noun);
mot-dièse (masculine noun)
A keyword, a keyword string or a theme preceded by the pound or number sign and used to index and categorize content.
handle;
nickname
pseudonyme
(masculine noun);
pseudo (masculine noun)
An Internet user’s alias or shortened name.
post publication (feminine noun) Anything published on a social media platform, such as text, images, videos and audio recordings.
log in;
sign in
se connecter;
ouvrir une session
To start a log-in session; to sign into your account.1
log out;
sign out
se déconnecter;
fermer une session
To end the current log-in session; to sign out of your account.1
video blog;
vlog; videoblog
vidéoblogue
(masculine noun);
vlogue (masculine noun);
blogue vidéo
(masculine noun)
A blog in which posts are in the form of a video.1
wikipedian wikipédiste (noun);
wikipédien (masculine noun),
wikipédienne (feminine noun)
A person who writes or edits articles on Wikipedia.
Source: The Translation Bureau’s Social Media Glossary
1 My own definitions.

For a more complete list, I encourage you to check out the Social Media Glossary in TERMIUM Plus®. It’s a very useful tool for all social media users.

Now that you know the meanings of certain social media terms, do you think you’ll be more comfortable using and talking about various social media platforms? Let us know in the comments below!

Adapted by: Natalie Ballard, Language Portal of Canada

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The opinions expressed in posts and comments published on the Our Languages blog are solely those of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Language Portal of Canada.

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About the author

Chantal Potvin

Chantal Potvin has been a graphic designer for nearly 20 years and an artist at heart forever. After 8 years with Health Canada, she joined the Language Portal team to bring her artistic touch to the Portal!

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This is useful to young and older learners alike --- it is meaningful to them - practical - it's where they live --- they can use these terms immediately and feel good about them.

Thanks for this handy chart! I am trying to become bilingual and these casual/colloquial terms and expressions are hard to come by. Merci! It would be nice to know though which words are masculine and which are feminine though... thanks!

Thanks for your comment, Sarah! Kudos to you for striving to become bilingual! We're happy to hear that the glossary in this post will help you in your efforts to learn French. Indicating which words are masculine and which are feminine is a great suggestion. Thanks! We're working on updating the French column of the glossary to provide that information.

Very useful vocabulary of social media words in French. Thank you!

I'm glad it helps you! That's the main reason I wrote this blog article! You will find a more elaborate list on TERMIUM at the following link: http://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/publications/media-soc-eng.html
Have fun! :)

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