Social networking in French is one of the easiest, most fun and trendiest ways of learning the language while making friends in French-speaking countries.
As of September 2011, 82 percent of internet users worldwide had used a social network. Almost 20 percent of time spent on the internet is spent on a social network.
Social networking in French is part of the growing worldwide popularity of this internet activity. Studies show that in France, social networks potentially reach almost 90 percent of internet users, less than the 98 percent in the UK and Spain, but growing.
Friends from before
Facebook is currently the top site for social networking in France, with 17 million subscribers. For many years though, copains d’avant, France’s home grown social network, held that spot. Launched in 2001, copains d’avant had 10 million subscribers by 2008, representing one-third of all French internet users, or internautes.
The phrase “copains d’avant” means “friends from before” and this refers to the site’s original raison d’être which was to connect people who were friends in school and university. This may explain why copains d’avant continues to have the highest membership – 61 percent – in the 25-34 year-old group, even though Facebook is more popular among 18 to 24 year-olds.
A slightly larger percentage of unique visitors on French social networks are men, but women who social network in French spend more time doing it.
Also, while Facebook’s membership is stabilizing, other sites like Viadeo, LinkedIn and Twitter are growing in popularity. In France, as elsewhere, social network users are increasingly accessing their accounts from mobile phones, one of the factors driving subscriber growth.
All this is to say that if you want to make friends in French, a social network is a great place to start. So, let’s connect with some basic words and phrases.
French social networking words & phrases
réseau social = social network
réseautage social = social networking
un contact = a contact
un compte = account, username
un mot de passe = password
un utilisateur = user
un profil = profile
une communauté = community
partager = to share
s’abonner = to subscribe
un(e) abonné(e) = a subscriber
un lien permanent = a permalink
un commentaire = a comment
rédiger = to compose (post)
un lecteur = a reader
s’identifier = to login
se connecter = to login
fermer (une) session = to logout
s’inscrire = to sign up, to register
envoyer un message = to send a message
Networking with a wider net
When you’re ready to branch out and try different types of social networking, the following terms will come in handy. They will be familiar to you in English but, until someone comes up with an official translation, they’re also used for social networking in French.
ajouter à sa liste d’ami(e)s un(e) ami(e) = to “friend”
un blog = a blog
un fil d’alimentation en nouvelles RSS = an RSS feed
un fil de discussion = a discussion thread
un forum = a forum
un hashtag = a hashtag (keyword for searching, following a conversation or marking a topic)
une mise à jour du statut = a status update
un news feed, une alimentation en nouvelles = a news feed
une photo du profil = a profile photo
poster quelquechose sur le mur de quelqu’un = to post something on somebody’s wall
retweeter = to retweet
un suiveur, une suiveuse = a follower
suivre = to follow
un tableau de bord = a dashboard
taguer quelqu’un sur une photo = to tag somebody in a photo
un sujet tendance = a trending topic
un tweet = a tweet
tweeter (sur) – to tweet