Because the world of social media and ICT is ever evolving, new words are constantly being developed (or old words recycled) to capture these growing platforms and concepts. While providing an exhaustive list of terms and definitions is outside the realm of this project, we did want to define some of the key terms that appear throughout the resource. Rather than reinvent the wheel, in some instances we have borrowed definitions from other sites, linking to them and the additional information and tools that they provide. Click on each word to find out more.

In this resource, we define social media as activities that are carried out online by individuals and organizations and that include an interactive component. Social media users are not only able to access information, but they can also share information in the form of words, pictures, videos and audio files. For example, social media include activities such as discussion forums, social networks (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Whatsapp, Pinterest, Whisper and Twitter), blogging and microblogging, bookmarking and media sharing.

The term information and communication technologies (ICT) encompasses both handheld devices (portable phones or tablets) that allow their users to receive or to send information using SMS (texts), apps or the web, as well as the activities that are carried out on these devices.

This term is used to encompass any activity that seeks to respond to the needs of people who are living with HIV and HIV-related co-infections or who are at risk of infection. HIV work includes prevention, education and awareness-raising about HIV; health-care services and treatment support for people who are living with HIV; and any intervention that provides care or social, financial, personal and other forms of support to those who are living with HIV and their communities. HIV work is done by a range of stakeholders including people who are living with HIV, their families and their communities; health-care providers; community-based organizations working at local, regional, national and international levels; researchers and others.
We use these two terms throughout the website, sometimes together, sometimes individually. Platforms refer to software or social media networks and communities (such as Facebook, Instagram and Google Docs). Technologies refer to the hardware that are needed to use and access these platforms, including computers, phones and tablets, and the telecommunications infrastructures required to connect online.
Simply put, an influencer is someone who carries influence over others. A social media influencer is someone who wields that influence through social media. Celebrity endorsements were the original form of influencer marketing but in the digital age of online connection, regular people have become online “celebrities” with powerfully engaged social media followings. (

An early adopter is a person who embraces new technology before most other people do. Early adopters tend to buy or try out new hardware items and programs and new versions of existing programs sooner than most of their peers. According to a theory called Diffusion of Innovations (DoI) formulated by Everett Rogers, early adopters make up 13.5 percent of the population. (

The word “app” is an abbreviation for application. An app is a piece of software. It can run on the internet, on your computer, on your phone or any other electronic device. The word “app” is a more modern usage, but this is really the same thing as a software program.

In modern use, most people refer to apps as applications or software programs that run specifically on phones or other mobile devices. (

 The term “open source” refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible. The term originated in the context of software development to designate a specific approach to creating computer programs. Today, however, “open source” designates a broader set of values—what can be called “the open source way.” Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development. (
A hashtag is a tag used on a variety of social networks as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#” (i.e. #InboundMarketing). Social networks use hashtags to categorize information and make it easily searchable for users. (
A meme on the internet is used to describe a thought, idea, joke, or concept that’s widely shared online. It is typically an image with text above and below it, but can also come in video and link form. A popular example is the “I Can Has Cheezburger”?” cat meme that turned into an entire site of memes. ((<))
Social media metrics are data and statistics that give you insights into your social media marketing performance. While some social media marketing metrics are universal, there are also platform specific metrics where data is calculated differently depending on the platform and social media metrics tools that you are using. (

In many countries, the number of smartphones has surpassed the number of personal computers; having a mobile-friendly website has become a critical part of having an online presence.The desktop version of a site might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. The version that’s not mobile-friendly requires the user to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. Users find this a frustrating experience and are likely to abandon the site. Alternatively, the mobile-friendly version is readable and immediately usable. (

Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results, such as Google. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on the page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand. (
Facebook is a social media platform founded in 2004. The site connects people with friends, family, acquaintances, and businesses from all over the world and enables them to post, share, and engage with a variety of content such as photos and status updates. The platform currently boasts around 1.49 billion active users. ((
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform, which allows its users to share and broadcast short messages or “tweets,” that are limited to 140 characters. You must sign up to create a Twitter account, which allows you to follow other Twitter users and share their messages, and to be followed by others.
Instagram is an image-based social media platform, where users can post pictures with short captions. You must sign up to create an Instagram account, which allows you to follow and be followed by other Instagram users, and comment or “like” their pictures. This is a very popular platform, but one that requires access to a camera and where users must generate all of the content.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site with over 380 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. (
Skype is a free program that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. Additionally, users can purchase plans to place phone calls through their Skype account.
Slack is an online collaborative work tool. Users can create or join a specific work group, which grants them access to a variety of tools, including individual and group messaging functions and file sharing. There are a number of other collaborative work platforms that exist, but since much of the work carried out to develop this website was done using Slack, we are a bit biased.
SMS, which stands for Short Message Service, is the formal name for text messaging. It’s a means of sending short, text-only messages from one phone to another. These messages are usually sent over a cellular data network. (