Social Media is Now AP Style Approved

As a public relations practitioner, I tend to do everything by the book…the AP Stylebook that is. I can’t turn it off, everything I read: menus, brochures, websites, etc. I will find things that go against AP style and my eye begins to twitch. When the communications field enters into new frontiers, AP style tends to follow suit and determine how we should reference these new mediums. Whether it’s the new dot-com era with words like Internet, World Wide Web and website (formerly Web site), or the newest type of media – social media.

AP style has not been far behind in determining how we should refer to all of these new social media platforms, even including terms such as retweet and unfriend (which can be substituted for defriend) in the guide. Below is a list of some my favorite new AP style-approved social media words.

  • Twitter
  • trending
  • status update
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • IM
  • hashtag
  • handle (and we are not referring to the things used to steer a bike, but rather a public-facing username on Twitter)
  • Google, Googling, Googled (yes, we have made Google into a verb)
  • Facebook
  • fan, follow, friend (none of which mean what they did in 1990)
  • app (short for application)

This is just a short selection of new social media words in the AP Stylebook, but looking it over makes you realize how huge of an impact social media terms have on our everyday language. Quick, what is the first thing that comes to mind when I say tweet? I’ll bet it’s not birds.

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