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How to Cite Twitter in MLA Style

Twitter is a significant source of real-time information and public discourse. Citing tweets in MLA style requires specific elements: author’s name, username, tweet text, date, and URL. These details are necessary for both in-text citations and Works Cited entries. Proper citation of tweets ensures credit to authors and maintains academic integrity in research using social media sources.

Gathering Necessary Information from a Tweet

Identifying the Author’s Handle

The author’s handle, also known as the username, is essential for citing a tweet. This handle is preceded by the “@” symbol and is unique to each user. For example, a tweet from NASA would have the handle @NASA. Always ensure that you capture this handle accurately as it uniquely identifies the author.

Capturing the Tweet’s Text

The text of the tweet is the main content you are citing. Copy the text exactly as it appears, including any hashtags, links, or emojis. This text forms the core of your citation and provides context to the information you are referencing.

Noting the Date and Time of the Tweet

The date and time of the tweet are crucial details. This information is usually found just below the tweet text and indicates when the tweet was posted. In MLA style, you need to format the date correctly: day, month (abbreviated), and year (e.g., 12 Jan. 2023).

Finding the URL of the Tweet

The URL of the tweet is the web address where the tweet can be accessed. This URL ensures that readers can directly view the original tweet. You can find this by clicking on the tweet’s timestamp, which will open the tweet in a new tab, displaying the URL in the browser’s address bar.

Formatting the Citation: In-Text

Basics of In-Text Citations in MLA

In-text citations in MLA style are concise. They usually include the author’s last name and the page number (if applicable). For tweets, since there are no page numbers, you simply use the author’s handle.

Examples of In-Text Citations for Tweets

Here’s how you might format an in-text citation for a tweet:

(NASA)

This citation is placed in parentheses at the end of the sentence where you reference the tweet.

Formatting the Citation: Works Cited

Structure of a Works Cited Entry for a Tweet

A Works Cited entry for a tweet should follow this structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name (Twitter Handle). “Text of the tweet.” Twitter, Date, Time, URL.

Examples of Correctly Formatted Entries

Here’s an example of a correctly formatted Works Cited entry for a tweet:

NASA (@NASA). “We’re launching a new mission to study the Sun’s outer atmosphere!” Twitter, 12 Jan. 2023, 3:45 p.m., twitter.com/NASA/status/1234567890123456789.

Special Considerations

Citing Retweets

When citing a retweet, credit the original author and note that it was retweeted by another user. For example:

Smith, John (@JohnSmith). “This is a great resource on climate change.” Retweeted by Jane Doe, Twitter, 12 Jan. 2023, 3:45 p.m., twitter.com/JohnSmith/status/1234567890123456789.

Handling Tweets with Multimedia

If a tweet includes images, videos, or links, mention this in the citation. For example:

Doe, Jane (@JaneDoe). “Check out this amazing video on ocean conservation.” Twitter, 12 Jan. 2023, 3:45 p.m., twitter.com/JaneDoe/status/1234567890123456789.

Dealing with Deleted Tweets

For deleted tweets, indicate that the tweet is no longer available, but still provide as much information as possible. For example:

Smith, John (@JohnSmith). “This tweet is no longer available.” Twitter, 12 Jan. 2023, 3:45 p.m., twitter.com/JohnSmith/status/1234567890123456789.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Incorrectly Formatting Usernames

Always use the correct handle with the “@” symbol. Avoid misspellings or omitting the symbol.

Overlooking Important Details

Ensure all elements, including date, time, and URL, are included in your citation. Missing details can make it difficult for readers to locate the original tweet.

Misplacing Punctuation Marks

Pay attention to punctuation. Incorrectly placed periods, commas, or quotation marks can lead to inaccurate citations.

Tools and Resources for MLA Citations

For accurate citations, you can take help from WriterBuddy’s MLA Twitter Citation tool. This tool simplifies the citation process and ensures that all necessary elements are included.

FAQs

How do I cite a tweet in MLA style?

To cite a tweet in MLA style, include the author’s handle, the tweet text, the date and time of the tweet, and the URL. Example: NASA (@NASA). “We’re launching a new mission to study the Sun’s outer atmosphere!” Twitter, 12 Jan. 2023, 3:45 p.m., twitter.com/NASA/status/1234567890123456789.

What should I do if the tweet I want to cite has been deleted?

If a tweet has been deleted, still provide as much information as possible, indicating that the tweet is no longer available. Example: Smith, John (@JohnSmith). “This tweet is no longer available.” Twitter, 12 Jan. 2023, 3:45 p.m., twitter.com/JohnSmith/status/1234567890123456789.

How do I cite a retweet in MLA style?

When citing a retweet, credit the original author and note that it was retweeted by another user. Example: Smith, John (@JohnSmith). “This is a great resource on climate change.” Retweeted by Jane Doe, Twitter, 12 Jan. 2023, 3:45 p.m., twitter.com/JohnSmith/status/1234567890123456789.

Conclusion

Citing tweets in MLA format involves including the author’s name, username, tweet text, date, and URL in in-text citations and Works Cited entries. This process ensures proper attribution and academic integrity when using Twitter as a source. WriterBuddy can help streamline this citation process, making formatting Twitter references accurately in your academic work easier.

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