How To Cite A Tweet

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The MLA has acknowledged Twitter’s existence.

In case you missed this back in March, twitter, the plucky social media network with much of Facebook’s reach but none of its self-adoration, received a vote of confidence from an unlikely source: the Modern Language Association.

Long an indirect but potent tool of torture in English classrooms and University campuses everywhere, the MLA (and other cohorts, including APA and Chicago) released a format for quoting tweets in formal writing.

While one may not consider twitter as the most natural primary source of information, if you consider a constant stream of humanity’s chatter as relevant, twitter is then relevant indeed. Original response to this was amusing–with many suggesting that “nothing of substance” is ever shared/said/published on twitter, comparing MLA acknowledging twitter to Barack Obama joining forces with 50 cent.

Could there be more coming?

Due to its slow, gloomy gait, formal academia has yet to fully arrive on the social media scene, and when they’ve gotten close, it’s often been with a get off my lawn tone.

Where does this leave facebook, pinterest, instagram, and the most disrespected of all modern information sources, wikipedia?

Is the MLA acknowledging twitter a sign of the formalizing of the most informal of media outside of graffiti–that is, social media? Probably not.

Students need to be able to use the media sources most natural to them, and for many, twitter matters. Rather than raging against the machine, the MLA recognized this and threw twitterers–that is, students and teachers–a bone.