The use of the term social networks has spread in a majority way in the Spanish-speaking countries, not only in an academic and scientific way, but also in the whole society, understanding a commonly accepted meaning to refer to certain online tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn among others. Thus, we must ask ourselves if this terminological conception and the conceptual form are well used and if there is a better alternative, to clarify such an important field of study in the social sciences. The article compiles definitions and uses of the term, placing special emphasis on the most primitive definitions of social networks that we can find in the Anglo-Saxon literature. Based on social scientific studies that were published in English and more recently in Spanish, we can explain the detailed conceptualization and differentiation of social networks and social media, emphasizing the way of improvement. A distinction is made between types of social networks and the possibilities offered by distinguishing between social networks and social media for research methodology in social sciences in Spanish.