As social media has become a norm in our day-to-day lives, it comes as no surprise that more and more students are finding ways to incorporate tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and more into their research.

So how do we cite social media posts?

Each platform will work a little differently, but in general, it follows a similar format to most citations: Author, Date, Title, Publisher, Accessed Date, URL, etc.

As with any form of citation, it will depend on the citation style you are working with. For example, when using Twitter, APA style lists the Author’s name as the name of the person or company tweeting, whereas MLA uses the Twitter handle.

At the time of this post, there was no definitive way to cite using ICMJE for Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram so it was not included as an option below.

Using Bill Clinton’s tweet below, in APA the Author would be Clinton, Bill, whereas MLA uses the handle @BillClinton for the author.

Twitter:

  • APA
    • Author Last Name, First Name Initial. [TwitterHandle]. (Date). Up to 40 words of tweet. [Tweet]. Retrieved from link.
    • Example: Clinton, B. [BillClinton]. (2019, Jan. 30). From addressing the opioid epidemic to expanding support… [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/BillClinton/status/1090734158601768960
  • Chicago
    • Author Name (Twitter Handle), “As much as 160 characters of the tweet, capitalizing as captured,” Twitter, Date & Time, URL of Tweet.
    • Bill Clinton (@BillClinton), “From addressing the opioid epidemic to expanding support for small businesses, members of the @ClintonFdn community…,” Twitter, January 30, 2019, 6:11 p.m.,
      https://twitter.com/BillClinton/status/1090734158601768960
  • MLA
    • Twitter Handle. “Tweet in its entirety.” Twitter, Date & Time, URL of Tweet. (Can include Date Accessed if preferred).
    • @BillClinton. “From addressing the opioid epidemic to expanding support for small businesses, members of the @ClintonFdn community are doing their part to help Puerto Rico and the Caribbean region. #IdeasIntoAction.” 2019, January 30.
      https://twitter.com/BillClinton/status/1090734158601768960
  • AMA
    • Twitter handle. Tweet in its entirety. Tweet URL. Posted date.
    • @BillClinton. From addressing the opioid epidemic to expanding support for small businesses, members of the @ClintonFdn community are doing their part to help Puerto Rico and the Caribbean region. #IdeasIntoAction.
      https://twitter.com/BillClinton/status/1090734158601768960. Posted January 30, 2019.

Instagram:

  • APA
    • Author Name [Instagram Handle]. (Date Posted). Post Caption [Instagram photo/video]. Retrieved date, from Intagram URL.
    • Jennifer Garnder [@jennifer.garner]. (March 5, 2019).
      Today we are announcing that @onceuponafarm has been WIC approved in Florida…[Instagram video]. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from Instagram
      https://www.instagram.com/p/BupFlcBluRk/.
  • Chicago
    • Author Name (Instagram Handle), “As much as 160 characters of the post, capitalizing as captured,” Instagram photo, Date, URL of Instagram post.
    • Jennifer Garnder (@jennifer.garner), “Today we are announcing that @onceuponafarm has been WIC approved in Florida and my home state of West Virginia, feeding nearly 125,000…,” Instagram photo, March 5, 2019, https://www.instagram.com/p/BupFlcBluRk/.
  • MLA
    • Author’s Last name, First name, or Username. “Post Caption or Description.” Instagram, Date published, Post URL.
    • @jennifer.garner. “Today we are announcing that @onceuponafarm has been WIC approved in Florida and my home state of West Virginia, feeding nearly 125,000…”
      Instagram, March 5, 2019,
      https://www.instagram.com/p/BupFlcBluRk/.
  • AMA
    • Instagram handle. Instagram caption in its entirety. Instagram URL. Posted date.
    • @jennifer.garner.
      Today we are announcing that @onceuponafarm has been WIC approved in Florida and my home state of West Virginia, feeding nearly 125,000 babies born into poverty. It’s been a crazy learning process and a nutty road, and we still have 48 states to go! But it’s a huge step and something that makes me very happy and proud. Xx, Jen.
      https://www.instagram.com/p/BupFlcBluRk/.
      March 5, 2019.

Facebook:

  • APA
    • Author Last Name, First initial. (Date (Year, Month, Day). Part of post caption [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from Facebook Post URL.
    • Beryl Ivey Library. (2019, March 6). Reading for pleasure is linked to better decision making, lower levels of stress, and improves overall wellbeing. Need some inspiration [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/BerylIveyLibrary/videos/391473738296872/.
  • Chicago
    • Author Name, “As much as 160 characters of the Facebook post, capitalizing as captured,” Facebook, Date & Time, URL of Facebook post.
    • Beryl Ivey Library, “Reading for pleasure is linked to better decision making, lower levels of stress, and improves overall wellbeing. Need some inspiration,” Facebook, March 6, 2019, 9:35 a.m. https://www.facebook.com/BerylIveyLibrary/videos/391473738296872/.
  • MLA
    • Author Last Name, First Name or Account Name. Description of Post. Facebook, Day Month Year of Post, Time of Post, Facebook post URL. Accessed Day Month Year post was viewed.
    • Beryl Ivey Library. Reading for pleasure is linked to better decision making, lower levels of stress, and improves overall wellbeing. Need some inspiration. Facebook, 6 March, 2019, 9:35 a.m. https://www.facebook.com/BerylIveyLibrary/videos/391473738296872/. Accessed 12 March, 2019.
  • AMA
    • Facebook account holder name. Facebook post caption in its entirety. Facebook post URL. Posted date.
    • Beryl Ivey Library.
      Reading for pleasure is linked to better decision making, lower levels of stress, and improves overall wellbeing. Need some inspiration? Come check out our Rec Reads! #WellnessWednesday.
      https://www.facebook.com/BerylIveyLibrary/videos/391473738296872/. March 5, 2019.

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