I'm developing a social network which has a feature similar to twitter's follow/following setup. At the moment I have the following (hehe) terminology on the site:

follower - someone who follows you
followers - group of people who follow you

I'm also using following at the moment to describe a group of people you are following. However, this also has the meaning of a group people who follow you.

So what is the correct terminology for:

  1. a group of people you follow on social media?
  2. a person you follow?
  3. and how can you refer to the photos uploaded by the group of people you follow?

The only thing I can find so far is 'who you follow' which is a bit wordy.

  • 1
    (comment i) - +1 .This is a great question. We have an internal collaboration platform at our company and we use the terms Followers (to group people who have subscribed to your posts) and Following (to group people whose posts are subscribed by you).
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 8, 2016 at 12:19
  • (comment ii) - During a discussion, this topic( that Followers" is pretty straightforward but "Following" is not) came up and someone suggested that we use "Preceding" instead of "Following", i.e People you consider "ahead" of yourself. Everybody just LOLed, ridiculed the proposal, name-called the proposer and closed the discussion as "inconclusive" and decided to stick with "Following". Rest assured, I'll be closely following this question! :)
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 8, 2016 at 12:19
  • 1
    Related, possibly duplicate question: word for a person that's being followed. There are several suggestions there already that should be of interest to you.
    – Jacinto
    Jan 11, 2016 at 8:55
  • 2
    Those with followers are "the followed." Jan 11, 2016 at 17:05
  • 1
    Your "following" would be generally understood as the group of people who follow you, and should be strenuously avoided as a term for those you follow. You may be "following" them, but you would not call them "my following".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 13, 2016 at 2:39

7 Answers 7



A person who is being tracked on a social media website or application. (Oxford Dictionary)

One who is followed (has his/her posts monitored by another user). (Wiktionary)

  • I was planning on answering "followee" even before I saw your post. Jan 11, 2016 at 17:03
  • @haha thanks for the clarification on this term. I did consider it, but wasn't sure if it was technically a term. this allows me to use followee, followees and followee's photos.
    – David
    Jan 13, 2016 at 8:15
  1. Stalkees
  2. Stalkee
  3. Depends on the nature of the stalkees, but possibly "evidence"...
  • (only half serious obviously) :-)
    – Nathan
    Jan 8, 2016 at 13:57
  • points for comedy value :P
    – David
    Jan 8, 2016 at 14:48

It's odd to me that the usual terminology would not be pressed into service. If you're following somebody, or a group, they are your

leader or, as a group, leaders.

Alternatively, and because a leader must first be a servant to be a leader, the leader or leaders are your

servant or, as a group, servants.

These are such well known terms, it's somewhat silly to cite the dictionary, but

leader, n.
3. a. One who guides others in action or opinion; one who takes the lead in any business, enterprise, or movement; one who is ‘followed’ ....

["leader, n.1". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/106597?rskey=z2iWj2&result=1&isAdvanced=false (accessed January 12, 2016).]

The use of 'servant' is more obscure, and requires insight to observe. However, the closest dictionary sense to the idea expressed is

servant, n.
d. your ... servant: one of the customary modes of subscribing a letter, or of addressing a patron in the dedication of a book. †(your) servant: a mode of expressing submission to another's opinion, often equivalent to ‘there is nothing more to be said upon the subject’; a form of greeting or leave-taking.

["servant, n.". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/176648?rskey=xLh2h4&result=1&isAdvanced=false (accessed January 12, 2016).]

Or, more obscurely, but expressing the same idea, the Catholic religious sense:

c. With religious signification. Servant of the servants of God (servus servorum Dei): a title assumed by the Popes (first by Gregory the Great).

'Servant' may be a hard sell, but I see no reason 'leader' should be.

So, these might work best:

  1. leaders or servants;
  2. leader or servant;
  3. signposts (the leader's or servant's photos).

If you have objections to 'leader' and 'servant', and if you don't mind looking forward to the unfamiliar past instead, you have a nice selection of obscure, rare and obsolete terms, as well as some that may be familiar in other contexts.

If you dispense with the familiar terms out of hand, you reject these:

  • guide;
  • conductor;
  • pilot.

The less familiar, obsolete and rare could be revived for use with new senses for new technology:

way-witter, n.
† way-witter n. Obs. (with pl. concord) people who have knowledge or skill in finding or following paths, routes, etc., collectively ....

["way, n.1 and int.1". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/226469 (accessed January 12, 2016).]

convoy, n.
5. A person who or thing which leads, directs, or conducts (to a place); a guide. Now rare.

["convoy, n.". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/40890 (accessed January 12, 2016).]

duistre, n.
Obs. rare.
A leader, conductor.

["† duistre, n.". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/58288 (accessed January 12, 2016).]

sincerely, your servant, JEL

p.s., Was it Benjamin Franklin who said "neither a follower nor a leader be"?


In my opinion, number one and two can have same terminology. You may use "pursuit/ pursuing". As in, "in pursuit of a suspect" :D .


I feel that the most appropriate choice of terminology will depend on the audience you're targeting and the hierarchical relation among them. I'll assume that we're taking about the technical terminology, though, as I often coupe with choosing the proper name for my classes, properties and such.

Since the social networking is a fairly new phenomenon, it hasn't had the time to found a full range of canonical terminology. What we have today are the ad-hoc picks that might or might not sustain in a few years. I'm sure that new concepts will arise shortly as well and those have no canonical names yet at all!

  • folowee: a person/entity/organization you follow - but consider something chicky like source (of information) or focus (of attention)
  • followees: a group of people/entities/organizations you follow - but consider discriminating between types like charitables (for NPO's) or trusties (for popular followees)
  • avatars: iconic proxy image for en entity - but this one is immensely dependent of the domain and nature of uploads (number, purpose, size of etc.)

The question is general so the answer is a bit generic. It might behoove the cause if you provide more details regarding the aim of operation. Also, you might want to mention what you've considered but rejected and why you did so.


I would suggest profile and profiles.

I follow around 150 profiles accross all my social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

I found a great twitter profile yesterday - his tweets are so witty!

In a more narrow context, content creator could be used.

I found a really good group of content creators of make up tutorials.

The context implies that the social media profiles produce more sophisticated content, than benign banter you might you get on Twitter (I'm not sure you can call someone who tweets their lunch and and thoughts about what's on TV a content creator, but maybe that's a value judgement on my part).

  • Profile describes the page that people follow. However, I think the OP wanted a word for the person they follow (addressed by your second entry, content creator).
    – Lawrence
    Jan 13, 2016 at 1:45

In the context of social media, you might follow someone for various reasons: relationship (friends and family), commerce (discounts and bargains), or thought leadership or its opposite (to follow the development of their arguments), etc. Each category would have its own appropriate description.

For a generic term, I suggest "presenter", which ties in nicely with the word media in social media.


  1. a person or thing that presents. - dictionary.com

With respect to your numbered questions:

  1. a group of people you follow on social media? presenters
  2. a person you follow? presenter
  3. how can you refer to the photos uploaded by the group of people you follow? Here are the presenters' photos.

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