Social Media Guidelines

January 25th, 2011 by Jessica Runberg

For a word nerd like me, 2010 was a big year. It was the first time that the AP Stylebook officially included social media guidelines. What are social media guidelines? Basically, AP defined
what social media is and how journalists should use social media in their work—grammatically and otherwise.

Read on for a summary of the newest social media entries now officially recognized by the Associated Press.

app Short for application. A program that runs inside another service. Customers can download hundreds of applications on their iPhone. App is acceptable on second reference.

crowdsourcing The practice of asking a large collection of individuals online to help gather information or produce ideas. A journalist may use Twitter to crowdsource ideas for an article.

fan, follow, friend Actions by which users connect to other users on social networks. You friend people on Facebook, you like businesses on Facebook (until recently, you became a fan of businesses) and you follow people and businesses on Twitter. Acceptable as nouns and verbs.

Google, Gooling, Googled Google is a trademark for a Web search engine. Google, Gooling and Googled are used informally as a verb for searching for information on the Internet. Always capitalized.

microsite A tightly focused group of Web pages typically dedicated to a single topic, product or service.

retweet The practice, on Twitter, of forwarding a message or link from someone else to your followers. Spelled out in all references, though common usage on Twitter abbreviates to RT.

search engine optimization Any of a number of methodologies used to ensure that online content shows up in search engines such as Google, thus increasing traffic to the content. SEO is acceptable on second reference.

unfriend To remove someone from a list of friends, usually on Facebook. Also defriend, an acceptable but less common usage.

This is just a sampling of some of the latest social media entries. You have to love the AP Stylebook!

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