6 posts categorized "Twitter"

October 18, 2013

How to Cite Social Media in APA Style (Twitter, Facebook, and Google+)

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

Thanks to developments in technology and feedback from our users, the APA Style team has updated the formats for citing social media, including content from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. These guidelines are the same as you’ll find in our APA Style Guide to Electronic References, Sixth Edition (available in PDF and Kindle formats).

Three Ways to Cite Social Media

There are three main ways to cite social media content in an APA Style paper:

  • generally with a URL,
  • as a personal communication, and
  • with a typical APA Style in-text citation and reference list entry.

We'll look at each of these along with examples. 

General Mentions With a URL

If you discuss any website or page in general in a paper (including but not limited to social media), it is sufficient to give the URL in the text the first time it is mentioned. No reference list entry is needed. Here is an example:

News agencies like CNN provide breaking news coverage to millions of people every day on their website (http://www.cnn.com) and Twitter account (http://twitter.com/CNN). In our first investigation, we analyzed the content of CNN’s Twitter feed during the year 2012.

Personal Communications

If you paraphrase or quote specific information from social media but your readership will be unable to access the content (e.g., because of friends-only privacy settings or because the exchange occurred in a private message), cite the content as a personal communication (see Publication Manual § 6.20). A personal communication citation should be used because there is no direct, reliable path for all readers to retrieve the source. Here is an example: 

K. M. Ingraham (personal communication, October 5, 2013) stated that she found her career as an educational psychologist intellectually stimulating as well as emotionally fulfilling.

In-Text Citations and Reference List Entries

Finally, if you paraphrase or quote specific, retrievable information from social media, provide an in-text citation (with the author and date) and a reference list entry (with the author, date, title, and source URL). The guidelines below explain how to format each of these elements for any social media citation, and examples follow.

Author

  • First, provide either an individual author’s real last name and initials in inverted format (Author, A. A.) or the full name of a group. This allows the reference to be associated with and alphabetized alongside any other works by that author.
  • Second, provide social media identity information. On Twitter, provide the author’s screen name in square brackets (if only the screen name is known, provide it without brackets). On Facebook and Google+, when the author is an individual, spell out his or her given name in square brackets.
  • The author reflects who posted the content, not necessarily who created it. Credit additional individuals in the narrative if necessary.

Date

  • Provide the year, month, and day for items that have a specific date associated with them, such as status updates, tweets, photos, and videos; otherwise, provide only the year.
  • If the date is unknown, use “n.d.” (for no date) instead.
  • If the date is unknown but can be reasonably approximated, use “ca.” (for circa) followed by the approximated year, in square brackets.
  • For multiple citations from the same author in the same year (regardless of the month or day), alphabetize the entries by title and add a lowercase letter after the year (e.g., 2013a, 2013b; n.d.-a, n.d.-b; or [ca. 2013a], [ca. 2013b]). Ignore nonletter characters such as the at sign (@) and pound sign (#) when alphabetizing.

Title

  • Provide the name of the page or the content or caption of the post (up to the first 40 words) as the title.
  • Do not italicize the titles of status updates, tweets, pages, or photographs; do italicize the titles of items that stand alone, such as videos and photo albums.
  • If the item contains no words (e.g., a photograph without a caption), provide a description of the item in square brackets.
  • Describe the content form (e.g., tweet, Facebook status update, photograph, timeline, video file) after the title in square brackets.

Source

  • Provide a retrieval URL that leads as directly and reliably to the cited content as possible (click a post’s date stamp to access its archived URL).
  • Provide a retrieval date if the content may change (e.g., whole feeds or pages). Do not provide a retrieval date if the post has a specific date associated with it already (e.g., status updates, tweets, photos, and videos).

 

Example Citations

Tweet, Individual Author

Gates

Gates, B. [BillGates]. (2013, February 26). #Polio is 99% eradicated. Join me & @FCBarcelona as we work to finish the job and #EndPolio. VIDEO: http://b-gat.es/X75Lvy [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/BillGates/status/306195345845665792
  • In-text citation: (Gates, 2013).

Tweet, Group Author

   Stanford

Stanford Medicine [SUMedicine]. (2012, October 9). Animal study shows sleeping brain behaves as if it's remembering: http://stan.md/RrqyEt #sleep #neuroscience #research [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/SUMedicine/status/255644688630046720
  • In-text citation: (Stanford Medicine, 2012).

Facebook Status Update, Individual Author

Gaiman

Gaiman, N. [Neil]. (2012, February 29). Please celebrate Leap Year Day in the traditional manner by taking a writer out for dinner. It’s been four years since many authors had a good dinner. We are waiting. Many of us have our forks or chopsticks at the [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/neilgaiman/posts/10150574185041016
  • In-text citation: (Gaiman, 2012). 

Facebook Status Update, Group Author

APA Style

APA Style. (2011, March 10). How do you spell success in APA Style? Easy! Consult Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary or APA’s Dictionary of Psychology. Read more over at the APA Style Blog [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/APAStyle/posts/206877529328877
  • In-text citation: (APA Style, 2011).

Google+ Post

Cornell

Cornell University. (2012, October 11). Having a cup of coffee before closing your eyes is the most effective way to combat daytime drowsiness, according to research. Sounds counterintuitive, but it takes 20 minutes for the caffeine to get into your bloodstream. So if you take [Google+ post]. Retrieved from https://plus.google.com/116871314286286422580/posts/NqCFGr4eveT
  • In-text citation: (Cornell University, 2012). 

Social Media Video

APA video

American Psychological Association. (2011, September 19). This is psychology: Family caregivers [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150303396563992&set=vb.290103137578
  • In-text citation: (American Psychological Association, 2011).

Social Media Photo or Graphic, With Caption

National Geographic

National Geographic. (2012, November 20). A supertelephoto lens allowed Colleen Pinski to capture this image of an annual solar eclipse. See more top shots: http://on.natgeo.com/UasjJH [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151148294503951&set=pb.23497828950.-2207520000.1357225190
  • In-text citation: (National Geographic, 2012).
  • The photographer can be credited in the narrative, for example, “Colleen Pinski photographed a solar eclipse using a telephoto lens (National Geographic, 2012).”

Social Media Photo or Graphic, Without Caption

US Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau. (2012, October 10). [Pathways after a bachelor’s degree in psychology: Educational attainment, common occupations, and synthetic work-life earnings and estimates] [Infographic]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151027855527364&set=a.10151027848052364.407698.202626512363
  • In-text citation: (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).

Social Media Photo Album

Red Bull Stratos

Red Bull Stratos. (2012, October 15). Mission to the edge of space, accomplished [Photo album]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.507275739283434.122701.122924687718543
  • In-text citation: (Red Bull Stratos, 2012). 
  • Include other details in the narrative, for example, "Felix Baumgartner broke the speed of sound in freefall during his jump from the edge of space (for photos from mission day, see Red Bull Stratos, 2012)." 

Social Media Page

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Timeline [Facebook page]. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from https://www.facebook.com/AmericanPsychologicalAssociation/info
  • In-text citation: (American Psychological Association, n.d.).

Day, F. [Felicia]. [ca. 2013]. Posts [Google+ page]. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from https://plus.google.com/+FeliciaDay/posts

  • In-text citation: (Day, [ca. 2013]).

National Institute of Mental Health [NIMHgov]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter page]. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from https://twitter.com/NIMHgov
  • In-text citation: (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.).

For More

For more information on all kinds of electronic references, see the APA Style Guide to Electronic References, Sixth Edition (available in PDF and Kindle formats), as well as the APA Publication Manual. To cite social media items not covered here, follow the format that is most similar, and also see our post on what to do if your reference isn’t in the manual.

Thank you to all our readers who helped us develop these formats. Your feedback is always appreciated.

July 29, 2010

Oops, I Did It Again!

Timothy McAdoo by Timothy McAdoo

Page 67 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) notes that “writers often use redundant language in an effort to be emphatic.” Instead, the redundant wording can be distracting.


The Manual provides a few examples of commonly used redundancies: “were both alike,” “were exactly the same,” “absolutely essential,” and others.

On Twitter, the APA Style team has had fun coming up with additional examples. Can you think of more?  Post them in the comments below and/or on Twitter with a hashtag of #DoRD (for Department of Redundancy Department)!

June 24, 2010

Announcing New Features on the APA Style Blog

We are very proud to announce the debut of several new features to the APA Style Blog. We hope that they will improve the usefulness and user friendliness of the site as well as your enjoyment of it. If you read our posts through a feed aggregator like Google Reader, we hope that you will pay our main site a visit at http://blog.apastyle.org to check it out. The new features include

  • a search box to search blog posts,
  • buttons to subscribe to our RSS feed, Twitter feed, or Facebook page,
  • lists of recent posts and comments,
  • our recent Twitter updates,
  • a “ShareThis” button on each post, and
  • an updated and more thorough “About Us” page.

These features are intended to make it easier for you to search the blog, automatically get new content, see what’s new and what’s been talked about recently, and share content you like with your friends and colleagues. All of this information will also be available on our “About Us” page. 

Thank you for reading and we hope you enjoy the new features of the site.

March 11, 2010

Follow the APA Style Team on Twitter!

We are pleased to announce a new feature from the APA Style team: APA Style Twitter!

Follow us to get updates on all things related to APA Style, including announcements about new blog posts, tips and tricks on writing and style, new features on apastyle.org, and more. Click the button below to follow us, or visit http://twitter.com/APA_Style:

Follow APA_Style on Twitter

October 26, 2009

How to Cite Twitter and Facebook, Part II: Reference List Entries and In-Text Citations

[Note 10/18/2013: Please view an updated and expanded version of this post at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/10/how-to-cite-social-media-in-apa-style.html]


Chelsea blogby Chelsea Lee

Previously I talked about how to cite Twitter and Facebook posts or feeds in general, which you can do quite easily by mentioning the URLs in text (with no reference list entries required).

Today I address some of the issues pertaining to citing particular posts, which require both reference list entries and in-text citations. As you may have noticed, the Publication Manual does not give specific guidance on how to do this. This is an evolving area, and blog discussions will be considered as we create guidelines related to these new references sources for future APA Style products.

What to do in the meantime? Below are examples of one approach to citing tweets and Facebook updates. Until more definitive guidance is available, feel free to use this approach or another that is also clear and gives the reader enough information about the source to be able to locate it.


First, here are screenshots of my examples from Twitter and Facebook (click to enlarge): 

 Baracktweet  Barackfb

The suggested reference list entries below generally follow the format for citation of online sources (see pp. 214–215):

BarackObama. (2009a, July 15). Launched American Graduation Initiative 
to help additional 5 mill. Americans graduate college by 2020:
http://bit.ly/gcTX7 [Twitter post]. Retrieved from
http://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/2651151366
Barack Obama. (2009b, October 9). Humbled. 
 http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/obamaforamerica/gGM45m 
 [Facebook update]. Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/posted.php? 
id=6815841748&share_id=154954250775&comments=1#s154954250775

Here’s the rationale I used for presenting each element in the reference: 

  • I included the author name as written (not changing BarackObama or Barack Obama to Obama, B.; see Example 76, p. 215). For simplicity’s sake and to ensure accuracy, it’s best to include names as written for Facebook and Twitter citations. 

  • Alphabetize under B, not O, ignoring the space (i.e., BarackObama and Barack Obama are treated the same, so you would next arrange them chronologically; see also section 6.25 of the manual, pp. 181–182). 

  • The date includes the year and day, but not the time. The date gives ample specificity without adding an element of how to format times, which isn’t done anywhere else in APA Style. 

  • To differentiate among posts from the same person in the same year (or even the same day), you can include ”a” or “b” after the year, in chronological order. If you have only one post from the writer in a year, then it is not necessary to include “a” or “b.” 

  • I included the whole post in the title position (mine included a URL, so I included that too). Facebook updates, however, might be quite long—if that is the case, you might use a truncated version of the post in the title position. 

  • It’s helpful to provide a description of form inside brackets, such as Twitter post or Facebook update. 

  • The URL leads directly to the post rather than to the feed in general, in order to be as direct and specific as possible about what is being cited. Click the date and time stamp beneath the post in question (seen in the screenshots) and you will be taken to the individual status update page with its own URL.


For in-text citations, parenthetical citation may be easiest:

President Obama announced the launch of the American Graduation Initiative 
(BarackObama, 2009a). He also stated that he was “humbled” to have 
received the Nobel Peace Prize (Barack Obama, 2009b).

One last issue is retrievability. Because online social media are more about live updates than archiving, we don’t know if these status update pages will still be here in a year, or 5, or 20 years. So if you are writing for publication, it may be prudent to self-archive any social media updates you include in your articles (check out this post by Gunther Eysenbach on some ways to do this).

  

What’s Next

I hope to bring you more in the future on citing social media posts, for example, citing hash-tagged conversationsalthough first we must figure out how to securely archive them (the adorably named Twapper Keeper might meet this need).

How have you addressed citing, archiving, and retrieving tweets and other social media posts in your field of expertise?

October 23, 2009

How to Cite Twitter and Facebook, Part I: General

[Note 10/18/2013: Please view an updated and expanded version of this post at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/10/how-to-cite-social-media-in-apa-style.html]

 

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

Because posts from online social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, are not yet often fodder for scholarly research, specific reference examples aren’t included in the Publication Manual. Well, whenever you need a reference format for something that’s not explicitly covered in the manual, you can adapt our examples to meet your needs (see p. 193). I’ll show you how, using example posts from President Obama’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

To cite a Twitter or Facebook feed as a whole or to discuss it in general, it is sufficient to give the site URL in text, inside parentheses. There is no need for a reference list entry.           

President Obama uses Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/barackobama) and 
Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/barackobama) to keep citizens up 
to speed on his initiatives, especially health care reform and Supreme 
Court nominations. 

 It’s the same method you’d use to cite a website as a whole (see this FAQ).

 On Monday I will address citing particular Twitter or Facebook posts.

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