MLA SOCIAL MEDIA CITATIONS
Social media has become a powerful force in shaping our world, and as a result, it has found its way into academic research. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the art of properly citing social media content in accordance with the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style. Whether you’re working on a research paper, essay, or any scholarly work, understanding how to cite social media sources is an essential skill that ensures the integrity of your research and your commitment to acknowledging the contributions of others.
ELEMENTS USED FOR CITING SOCIAL MEDIA
The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for citing various types of social media content, taking into account the dynamic nature of online platforms. To create accurate and consistent citations for social media, you should consider the following elements:
Start by identifying the author’s full name if available. If the author is an individual user, provide their real name. If it’s an organization or a page, use their official name.
Example: If the tweet is by Elon Musk, use Elon Musk. For a Facebook post by NASA, use NASA.
THE TITLE OF THE POST
Include the title of the social media post within quotation marks. For tweets and status updates, this is the text of the post itself.
Example: If a tweet reads “Starship SN20 lands on Mars”, a historic day for humanity, put this text within quotation marks.
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
Clearly mention the name of the social media platform in italics where the content was published (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn).
Example: If the content is from Twitter, include Twitter.
DATE OF THE POST
Use the day, month, and year (in that order) to provide the publication date of the social media post. If the date is not available, use n.d. for no date.
Example: If a tweet was posted on November 15, 2022, write 15 Nov. 2022.
Provide the direct URL to the specific post, if it’s publicly accessible. For private posts, use the URL of the user’s profile or the page where the content was published.
Example: If the post has a unique URL, include it, such as https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/789012.
Mention the date when you accessed the social media post. This is especially important because social media content can be edited or deleted over time.
Example: If you accessed the content on October 25, 2023, write: Accessed 25 October 2023.
Now, let’s break down the process for citing various social media content.
For tweets, include the author’s name, the tweet’s text in quotation marks, specify Twitter as the platform, provide the tweet’s date, and the URL to the tweet. Don’t forget to add the date you accessed the tweet.
Author’s Name (if available). “Title of the Tweet.” Twitter, Date, URL. Accessed.
Example: Elon Musk. “Starship SN20 lands on Mars, a historic day for humanity.” Twitter, 15 Nov. 2022, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/123456. Accessed 25 October 2023.
CITING FACEBOOK POSTS
To cite a Facebook post, start with the author’s name, enclose the post text in quotation marks, state the platform as Facebook, mention the post’s date, add the post’s URL, and specify the date when you accessed it.
Author’s Name. “Title of the Post.” Facebook, Date, URL.
Example: Mark Zuckerberg. “Announcing new privacy settings.” Facebook, 20 May 2022, https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/789012.
CITING INSTAGRAM POSTS
When citing an Instagram post, begin with the author’s name (if available), place the post’s text in quotation marks, label the platform as Instagram, indicate the post’s date, include the URL of the post, and provide the date you accessed it.
Author’s Name (if available). “Title of the Post.” Instagram, Date, URL. Accessed.
Example: @natgeotravel. “Breathtaking sunset over the Grand Canyon.” Instagram, 5 Sep. 2022, https://www.instagram.com/p/123456/. Accessed 25 October 2023.
CITING YOUTUBE VIDEOS
For YouTube videos, begin with the author’s name (if available), place the video’s title in quotation marks, mention the platform as YouTube, specify the video’s upload date, provide the video’s URL, and note the date you accessed it.
Author’s Name (if available). “Title of the Video.” YouTube, Upload Date, URL. Accessed.
Example: CrashCourse. “The History of the Internet.” YouTube, 2 Oct. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=123456. Accessed 25 October 2023.
CITING LINKEDIN POSTS
To cite LinkedIn posts, start with the author’s name, enclose the post text in quotation marks, identify the platform as LinkedIn, state the post’s date, include the post’s URL, and add the date when you accessed it.
Author’s Name. “Title of the Post.” LinkedIn, Date, URL.
Example: Sheryl Sandberg. “Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace.” LinkedIn, 8 Jul. 2022, https://www.linkedin.com/posts/sherylsandberg/123456.
CITING REDDIT POSTS
When citing Reddit posts, begin with the author’s name (if available), place the post title in quotation marks, specify Reddit as the platform, mention the post date, provide the URL to the post, and note the date you accessed it.
Author’s Name (if available). “Title of the Post.” Reddit, Date, URL.
Example: u/scienceenthusiast. “New Study Reveals Breakthrough in Quantum Computing.” Reddit, 12 Apr. 2022, https://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/123456.
In this guide, we’ve delved into the nuances of crafting MLA citations for various social media platforms, covering tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, LinkedIn articles, and Reddit discussions. By following these detailed steps and descriptions, you can create accurate MLA citations for various types of social media content, ensuring proper attribution and credibility in your academic writing.
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