In our digital world, you might find information relevant to your research on Twitter. But how do you cite a tweet in academic referencing? In this post, we’ll explain how to cite a tweet in APA (7th Edition) and MLA style.
How to Cite a Tweet in APA
For an in-text citation in APA referencing, you put the surname or organization name and year in brackets like this:
Giraffes are as socially complex as elephants (ScienceDaily, 2021).
But if you’ve already mentioned the name, just add the year afterward:
ScienceDaily (2021) tweeted that giraffes are as socially complex as elephants.
Then give the full source information in the reference list at the end of the document.
How to Cite a Tweet In an APA Reference List
This is the format for citing a tweet in an APA reference list:
Name, Initials [@twitterhandle]. (Year, Month Day). Exact wording of tweet up to a maximum of 20 words [Tweet]. Twitter. URL
Following this pattern, our example above would look like this in the reference list:
ScienceDaily [@ScienceDaily]. (2021, August 30). Giraffes are as socially complex as elephants, study finds //dlvr.it/S6cgg4 [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/ScienceDaily/status/1432419496338214912
All links in the first 20 words of the tweet should be included in a reference list. You should put square brackets before the tweet if it has an image, video, or thumbnail (i.e., [image attached], , or [thumbnail with link attached]).
The first 20 words of the tweet should be exactly as they appear online. This means you must include all non-standard spelling and capitalization as well as hashtags, links, and even emojis. If you can’t recreate an emoji, you should include its name (e.g., grinning face with big eyes). (Here’s a full list of emoji names.) When counting 20 words, note that emojis, hashtags, and links each count as one word.
How to Cite a Twitter Profile in APA Referencing
If you want to cite a Twitter profile instead of a single tweet, the citation in the text is the same, except you replace the date with “n.d.” Using ScienceDaily as an example, you’d format the reference list entry like this:
ScienceDaily [@ScienceDaily]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from https://twitter.com/ScienceDaily
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How to Cite a Tweet in MLA Referencing
In MLA style, the in-text citation for a tweet only needs to include the screen name of the person or organization that tweeted:
Yoshino’s novel has now been translated into English (New York Times Books).
You then provide the full source details in the works cited list.
How to Cite a Tweet In an MLA Works Cited List
This is the format for citing a tweet in an MLA works cited list:
Screen Name [@TwitterHandle]. “Full content of tweet.” Twitter, Day Month Year, Time, URL (omit https:// or https://).
So, our example would look like this:
New York Times Books [@nytimesbooks]. “Nearly compulsory reading for 13-year-olds in Japan, where it has sold more than two million copies since its original 1937 publication, Genzaburo Yoshino’s novel “How Do You Live?” has finally been translated into English.” Twitter, 22 Nov 2021, 3:45 pm, twitter.com/nytimesbooks/status/1462809371658752003
You must reproduce the exact content of the tweet, even if it contains errors in grammar or spelling. But you should indicate that any mistake isn’t yours by adding a “[sic]” immediately after it:
Spelling mistakes can make you’re [sic] writing look unprofessional.
How to Cite a Twitter Profile in MLA Referencing
When referring to a Twitter profile in MLA style (rather than a single tweet), you don’t need to include it in the works cited list. It’s enough to include either the URL or the Twitter handle in parentheses in your text:
ScienceDaily’s Twitter feed (@ScienceDaily) is a reliable source of information.
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Hopefully, you now feel ready to cite a tweet or Twitter profile in your next assignment.
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