In an increasingly digital world, social media platforms have become one of the most popular sources of news, content, and information. But how should such sources be treated within citations and academic research? Below is a guide on how to cite some of the most frequently used social media sites in MLA format, APA format, and Chicago style.

How to Cite an Instagram Post

Citation Structure in MLA Format (9th ed.)

Last Name, First Name or Single username [handle if different from name]. “Photo Title” or Description. Instagram, Other contributors if applicable, Day month year posted, URL (omit http:// or https://).

Example:

History Channel. “This Day in History 2007.” Instagram, photographed by Bill Kravitz, 21 Jul. 2017, www.instagram.com/p/BW0FuFGj9Fp/?taken-by=history&hl=en.

 

Citation Structure in APA Format (6th ed.)

Account holder’s Last Name, First Initial or Username (Year, Date Published). Photo title [Photo description].  Retrieved from URL

Example:

History Channel [@history]. (2017, July 21). [This day in history, photo by Bill Kravitz]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BW0FuFGj9Fp/?taken-by=history&hl=en.

 

Citation Structure in Chicago Style (16th ed.)

Account holder’s Last name, First name or Username. “Photo Title.” Instagram, Date published. Date accessed. URL.

Example:

History Channel. “This Day in History 2007.” Instagram, July 21, 2017. Accessed July 21, 2017. https://www.instagram.com/p/BW0FuFGj9Fp/?taken-by=history&hl=en.

 

How to Cite a Facebook Post

Citation Structure in MLA Format (9th ed.)

Last Name, First Name (or username or page name). “Title or first several words of the Facebook post…” Facebook, Day Month Year posted, URL without http:// or https://.

Example:

Carey, Theresa. “Elephant seals recognize vocal rhythms to avoid bullies…” Facebook, 20 Jul. 2017, www.facebook.com/pbs/.

 

Citation Structure in APA Format (6th ed.)

Lastname, Firstname. (Year, month day posted). First several words of Facebook post… [Facebook post]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Carey, Theresa (2017, July 20). Elephant seals recognize vocal rhythms to avoid bullies. [Facebook post]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/pbs/.

 

Citation Structure in Chicago Style (16th ed.)

Lastname, Firstname. Facebook post. Month day, year posted. URL

Example:

Carey, Theresa. Facebook post. July 20, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/pbs/.

 

How to Cite a Tweet

Citation Structure in MLA Format (9th ed.)

Last Name, First Name (if available) [@TwitterHandle if different from name]. Description or “First several words of tweet…” Twitter, Day Month Year posted, URL (omit http:// or https://).

Example:

Britannica. “Nelson Mandela, who fought for racial equality and became South Africa’s 1st black president, was born #OTD in 1918…” Twitter, 18 Jul. 2017, twitter.com/Britannica/status/887382776747630594.

 

Citation Structure in APA Format (6th ed.)

Last name, F. [Twitter handle]. (Year, Month Day). Content of tweet [Tweet]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Encyclopedia Britannica. [Britannica]. (2017, July 18). Nelson Mandela, who fought for racial equality and became South Africa’s 1st black president, was born #OTD in 1918. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Britannica/status/887382776747630594

 

Citation Structure in Chicago Style (16th ed.)

First name Last name, Twitter post, Month Day, Year, Time, URL.

Example:

Encyclopedia Britannica, Twitter post, July 18, 2017, 11:45 a.m., https://twitter.com/Britannica/status/887382776747630594.


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