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 recommendations for additional guidance and related reading on research, citation, and citing tweets for research purposes.

How To Cite A Tweet: MLA Style

“The MLA Handbook recommends using the full text of a tweet as its title. However, sometimes the text of a tweet is too long to be used as a title, and so the text may be truncated with an ellipsis. In that case, it is OK not to include hashtags. Otherwise, you should use the full text of a tweet, including hashtags, as its title. The following provides an example, adapted from the MLA Handbook:

@persianwiki. “We have report of large street battles in east & west of Tehran now – #Iranelection.” Twitter, 23 June 2009, twitter.com/persianwiki/status/2298106072.

Author

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/
969604434547367936.

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/
963810866964639745.

More Examples Of How To Cite A Tweet

Purdue’s OWL offers some additional examples of how to cite a tweet:

A Tweet

Begin with the user’s Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader’s time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.

@tombrokaw. “SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign.” Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.

@PurdueWLab. “Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week.” Twitter, 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.

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