Facebook glossary part 1 – general terms

Whether you’re just getting started or are an experienced Facebook user, there’s a lot of terminology to get your head around.  We’ve compiled this useful glossary to explain some of the most commonly used Facebook terms so that you won’t confuse your Timeline with your Ticker!  This is the first of three lists of Facebook definitions and includes terms that all Facebook users will probably come across at some stage.  Part 2 will explain terms that relate to Facebook Pages and the final instalment will explain terminology used in Facebook Insights.


About: This section contains basic information about you such as your education and work history or relationship status.  You can add as much (or as little) personal information as you like and you can control whether details are public or not.

Activity Log: Your Activity Log shows you a complete list of your activity including Likes, Comments and Shares.  To view your Activity Log, click the button on your Cover Photo.

App: Facebook Apps are created by third parties and add additional features and functionality to your Facebook experience.  They may be able to access details such as your friends list or public information so check which apps have access to your account in your Settings.

Chat: Chat is a feature that allows you to see which friends are online and lets you send instant messages to them.  You will find it in the bottom right corner on any Facebook page.

Check-in:  You can Check-in to a location to tell your Facebook friends where you are.  Your Check-ins will be added to your Profile and may appear in your friends’ News Feed.

Cover Photo: This is the large picture at the top of your Profile and is always public.

Event: Use the Event feature to organise public or private events.  You can manage invitations and share information and photographs with invitees on your Event page.  Click on Events in the left menu of your Home page to view or create an event.

Facebook Page: Facebook Pages are public profiles for businesses, brands and organisations, allowing them to connect with people on Facebook.  You can Like a Facebook Page to view its stories in your News Feed.

Favorites: Your Favorites list is a collection of saved links to features such as Apps, Groups and Pages.  You will find it near the top of the left menu of your Home page.  To move a link on the left menu up to Favorites, hover over it, click the gear icon (cog) and select Add to Favorites.

Follow:  By default you follow anyone you are friends with but you can also follow people who allow everybody to follow them, typically public figures.  Use the Follow button to fine-tune your News Feed by prioritising the types of updates you want to see.

Friend: Friends are the people you connect with on Facebook by sending Friend requests or accepting requests from other Facebook members.  Facebook and other friends may suggest people for you to connect with.

Groups: Facebook Groups make it easy to connect with specific sets of people, such as others who enjoy a similar hobby. They’re dedicated spaces where members can share updates, photos, and documents as well as message other Group members and can be Open, Closed or Secret.

Interest Lists: Interest lists allow you to organise content on Facebook. You can create your own Interest Lists based on the things you care about, or you can follow other people’s lists.

Life Event:  Life Events are a special type of post that let you add key moments to your Timeline such as getting a new job or publishing a book.

Like: Hover over the Like link for an update, comment, photo or video to select one of the new Facebook Reactions: Like, Love, HaHa, Wow, Sad or Angry.  Liking a Page means you’re following that Page and you may see its stories in your News Feed. The Page will also appear on your Profile, and you’ll appear on the Page as a person who Likes that Page.

Messages: Messages are private communications and appear in your Messages Inbox or on the Facebook Messenger app.  Messages can include text messages, photographs, links and files.

News Feed: Your News Feed is a constantly updating list of stories that appears on your Home page. It includes selected status updates, photos, videos, links, App activities, and Likes from the people, Pages, and Groups you’ve connected with.  Use News Feed Preferences to prioritise the content that you want to see at the top of your News Feed.

Notes: The Notes feature, in the More dropdown menu, lets you publish messages in rich-text format, giving you greater flexibility than simple updates allow. In addition to formatting your text, you can add photos and tag other people in your note.

Notifications: Notifications are updates about activity on Facebook, for example, you will be notified when you receive a Friend request.  You can manage your notification preferences in your Settings.

Poke: The Poke feature used to be a popular method of getting someone’s attention or saying hello, although its use is fading. When you Poke someone, they’ll receive a notification letting them know that they’ve been poked and by whom.

Privacy Checkup: Use the Privacy Checkup to review and adjust your privacy settings and make sure that you’re sharing with who you want.  You can access Privacy Checkup by clicking the padlock symbol at the top of any Facebook page.

Privacy Checkup

Profile: Your Profile is your collection of photos, stories, and experiences that you’ve shared on Facebook. It includes your Timeline, Profile Picture, biography, and personal information. You can restrict access to some aspects of your profile but your Profile Picture, Cover Photo and some basic details will be public.

Profile Picture: Your Profile Picture is the public image associated with your profile and appears as a thumbnail next to your comments and other activity on Facebook.

Reaction: You can now respond to an update with Like, Love, HaHa, Wow, Sad or Angry.


Reviews: You can post a Review and/or a star rating on a Facebook Page, for example a local business, that has a Reviews section.

Search:  Use the Search tool at the top of any Facebook page to find people, posts, photos, places, Pages, Groups, Apps, and Events on Facebook.

Settings: You can manage your basic account preferences in your Settings such as editing your name or email, changing your notification preferences or adjusting your security features.

Tag: A tag links something you post to a person, Page, or place. For example, you can tag a photo to say who’s in it or add Tags to a status update to say who you’re with or where you are.  When you tag someone in a comment or photo, their Friends may be added to the audience for that update.

Ticker: The Ticker is positioned on the right side of your News Feed and is updated with your friends’ activities in real-time.  You will see items on your Ticker that may not appear in your News Feed so you can use it to keep up with the latest news as it happens.

Timeline: Your Timeline is part of your Profile where you can see your posts and any posts you’ve been tagged in displayed by date.  You can specify who can post to your Timeline in your Settings.

Timeline Review: This is a feature that lets you approve or reject posts that you’ve been tagged in before they go on your Timeline and needs to be activated in your Settings. When people you’re not friends with tag you in a post, it will automatically go to Timeline Review.

Top Story: Top Stories include the stories published since you last checked News Feed that Facebook’s algorithm thinks you’ll find interesting.  You can specify whether to prioritise Top Stories or the Most Recent using the down arrow to the right of the News Feed link on the left menu.

Trending: The Trending section shows you a list of topics and hashtags that are currently popular on Facebook and appears on the right of your News Feed.  You can view the Top Trends or the trends for one of the available categories.

Have we left any out?  Let us know in the comments


2 thoughts on “Facebook glossary part 1 – general terms

  1. Pingback: Facebook glossary part 3 – Facebook Insights terms | Social Media QUB

  2. Pingback: Facebook glossary part 3 - Facebook Insights terms | Social Media at Queen's

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