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How To Cite A Tweet: MLA Style

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How To Cite A Tweet: MLA Style

by TeachThought Staff

How do you cite a tweet MLA Style?

First, let’s clarify that while it’s not exactly an Oxford library and therefore may not be the first place you visit for scholarly research, contrary to popular belief there are things on twitter worth citing.

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. We’ve excerpted some of the most common questions for citing tweets in MLA style, but you can check out their site for all of their guidance and related reading on research, citation, and citing tweets for research purposes.

How To Cite A Tweet: MLA Style


Follow the guidelines in the MLA Handbook: list the Twitter handles of the original tweet’s author and of any participants in the thread. Include real names, if known, in parentheses. If more than two people are involved, use “et al.”

@poniewozik (James Poniewozik) et al. “I’ve joked that ‘TV critic’ and ‘Netflix critic’ should maybe become separate jobs, but maybe it’s not a joke?” Twitter, 2 Mar. 2018, twitter.com/poniewozik/status/

Citing Tweets MLA Style: Title of Source

Tweets lack formal titles. Most tweets begin with text and can be treated much like untitled poems, where the first line stands in for the title. Some tweets are composed only of images; as for any work in MLA style that lacks a title, you should thus substitute a description.

For Twitter threads, use the initial tweet in the thread as the basis for your title or description. Keep these three methods in mind as you determine what to list in the “Title of source” slot for a Twitter thread:

Citing Tweets MLA Style: Short Tweets with Text

For a tweet under 140 characters, the MLA Handbook recommends listing the full text of the tweet as the title, as in the example above.

Citing Tweets MLA Style: Long Tweets with Text

You can also truncate the titles of tweets—especially those that have over 140 characters or that include emojis—by using an ellipsis at the end:

@ClintSmithIII (Clint Smith) et al. “Today is Frederick Douglass’ 200th Birthday. . . .” Twitter, 14 Feb. 2018, twitter.com/ClintSmithIII/status/

So, there you have it–now you know how to cite tweet in MLA style/format. We’ve also got scores and scores of resources for using social media in the classroom to explore as well.

How To Cite A Tweet: MLA Style

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