February 22, 2021

Citing Social-Media Sources (Author-Date)

I needed a cheatsheet for citing social media sources. The CMoS has a LOT to say on the topic, but is also rather lacking in crystal-clear examples for typical scenarios. And many of the examples online are either wrong or out of date. ∴ I made this and then decided to share it with y'all.

Citing Social-Media Sources (Author-Date)

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Published February 22, 2021 || Updated March 7, 2021

À la The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition

—a very incomplete how-to and cheatsheet for writers and academics (Warner 2021).

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS), 17th edition, describes two systems of citation: note and bibliography and author-date (UCP 2017). Here we are focusing on the author-date system and the citation guidelines for social media. Why? Because I think the CMoS still inadequately describes the typical use cases and I needed a cheatsheet. I put this together and decided it would perhaps be valuable to other people.

The relevant chapters in CMoS are 14 and 15. Chapter 14 describes note and bibliography formatting, but it is still relevant because the manual does not repeat everything in both chapters (I personally think they should). So, read both.

Need a simple example of the author-date system in practice? Well, I treated this section of the text like its own micro document with a couple citations: the The Chicago Manual of Style book itself and (very "meta") this blog post. Notice the bold-highlighted parenthetical citations—"(UCP 2017)" and "(Warner 2021)"—and the reference list—"REFERENCES". It's not much, but I hope it is enough for most who merely need a refresher.

Why write all of this? Because there are times I like to write more academically. Sometimes I use the note and bibliography system, other times author-date. But you don't have to be in academia to strive to present your work as more professional, accurate, and complete.

REFERENCES

UCP (University of Chicago Press). 2017. The Chicago Manual of Style. 17th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Warner, Todd. 2021. "Citing Social-Media Sources (Author-Date)". Ruminations (blog), Errant Ruminant. February 22, 2021. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://errantruminant.com/blog/citation-author-date-social-media/.



DISCLAIMER: I make no claim these examples are 100% flawless, though CMoS makes allowance for quite a bit of variation, as long as you are consistent and it makes some sense. Please alert me if you find an error in this document.

The basic components

A typical full reference for a social media posting looks like these (note that 'Format, HH:MM:SS' is only relevant for video and audio):

Account Name. YYYY. Title in Italics. Month, DD, YYYY. Format, HH:MM:SS. https://domainname/etcetcetc.

Lastname, Firstname. YYYY. Title in Italics. Account Name. Month, DD, YYYY. Format, HH:MM:SS. https://domainname/yaddayadda.

Name of Interviewee. YYYY. "Title in Quotes." Interviewed by Name of Interviewer. Name of Blog|Vlog|Podcast in Italics (blog|vlog|podcast). Month, DD, YYYY. Account or Publisher. Format, HH:MM:SS. Accessed Month DD, YYYY. https://blogdomainname/yaddayadda.

Name of Interviewee. YYYY. "Title in Quotes." Interviewed by Name of Interviewer. Name of Blog|Vlog|Podcast in Italics (blog|vlog|podcast), Name of Publication in Italics. Month, DD, YYYY. Format, HH:MM:SS. Accessed Month DD, YYYY. https://publication/blogname/yaddayadda.

Lastname, Firstname (@username). YYYY. "Snippet of post in quotes". Platform, Month, DD, YYYY. https://socialmediaprovider/etcetcetc.

Notes on the examples below.

  • Type '(vlog)' is not officially recognized. The assumption is that type '(blog)' plus a format of 'Video' make the same impression, but '(vlog)' is so common now, I use it instead of '(blog)' when appropriate.
  • 'Social-media-platform' means 'Facebook' 'YouTube' 'Instagram' 'Twitter' etc. Most of the time it is redundant to the URL, but the URL is supposed to be "just a link."
  • 'Format' means 'Video' 'Image' 'Audio' etc.
  • You can combine the platform + format: 'YouTube video' 'Instagram image' 'Facebook image'. The ordering then goes from 'Platform. Month DD, YYYY. Format.' ⟶ 'Month DD, YYYY. Platform format'.
  • The ordering of all elements after the title is subject to a bit of mystery and nuance. Just be consistent.
  • The URL doesn't have to be the full URL. For example, a very bare https://www.youtube.com/. This is used especially in cases where the URL is unreliable or long or complicated.
  • One can probably drop the https:// and assume all addresses refer to web addresses unless specified differently.

OK, let's see some examples (one of my videos and one other I watched recently). For each EXAMPLE below, first will be a full reference citation and then an example of its corresponding in-text parenthetical citation.

Cheatsheet — Citing Social Media

GENERAL FORMAT — super simple:

Account Name. YYYY. Title in Italics. Month, DD, YYYY. Format, HH:MM:SS. https://domainname/etcetcetc.

THREE EXAMPLES:

Warner, Todd. 2020. Dogs at Play. Video, 2:09. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCYpMqy3iU.

Warner, Todd. 2020. Dogs at Play. Video, 2:09. www.youtube.com.

Obsidian Office Hours. 2020. MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian. October 19, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Warner 2020) and (Warner 2020) and (Obsidian Office Hours 2020)

 

FORMAT — an account cited but no named publication:

Lastname, Firstname. YYYY. Title in Italics. Account Name. Month, DD, YYYY. Format, HH:MM:SS. https://domainname/etcetcetc.

EXAMPLE:

Gold, Anthony. 2020. MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian. Obsidian Office Hours. October 10, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Gold 2020)

 

FORMAT — publication cited and using 'Platform, date.' formatting:

Lastname, Firstname. YYYY. "Title of Video." Name of Video Blog (blog or vlog). Social-media-platform, Month, DD, YYYY. Format, HH:MM:SS. https://www.youtube.com/xxx.

EXAMPLE:

Gold, Anthony. 2020. "MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian." Obsidian Office Hours (vlog). YouTube, October 10, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Gold 2020)

 

FORMAT — publication cited and using 'VideoPlatform, format.' formatting:

Lastname, Firstname. YYYY. "Title in Quotes." Name of Blog|Vlog|Podcast in Italics (blog|vlog|podcast). Month, DD, YYYY. Social-media-platform format HH:MM:SS. Accessed Month DD, YYYY. https://www.domain.com/yaddayadda.

EXAMPLE:

Gold, Anthony. 2020. "MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian." Obsidian Office Hours (vlog). October 10, 2020. YouTube video, 56:12. Accessed February 21, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Gold 2020)

 

FORMAT — interview and an account cited but no publication:

Name of Interviewee. YYYY. Title in Italics. Interview by Name of Interviewer. Account Name. Month, DD, YYYY. Format, HH:MM:SS. https://www.blog-domain.com/yaddayadda.

EXAMPLE:

Milo, Nick. 2020. MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian. Interview by Anthony Gold. Obsidian Office Hours. October 19, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Milo 2020)

 

FORMAT — interview and a publication cited:

Name of Interviewee. YYYY. "Title in Quotes." Interview by Name of Interviewer. Name of Blog|Vlog|Podcast in Italics (blog|vlog|podcast). Month, DD, YYYY. Format, HH:MM:SS. https://www.blog-domain.com/yaddayadda.

EXAMPLE:

Milo, Nick. 2020. "MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian." Interview by Anthony Gold. Obsidian Office Hours (vlog). October 19, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Milo 2020)

 

FORMAT — Twitter and Facebook are relatively straight-forward:

Lastname, Firstname (@username). YYYY. "Text snippet in quotes." Twitter, Month, DD, YYYY, HH:MM a.m.|p.m. https://twitter.com/username/status/111122223333444455556666.

Lastname, Firstname. YYYY. "Text snippet in quotes." Facebook, Month, DD, YYYY, HH:MM a.m.|p.m. https://www.facebook.com/username/posts/111122223333444455556666.
—NOTE: You can stick the FB username in parenthesis as well if it adds clarity, but FB is not as username-centric as Twitter.

EXAMPLES:

Gorman, Amanda (@TheAmandaGorman). 2021. "Happy World Book Day!" Twitter, March 4, 2021, 7:02 p.m. UTC. https://twitter.com/TheAmandaGorman/status/1367551012110704640.

Gorman, Amanda. 2021. "Happy World Book Day!" Facebook photo, March 4, 2021, 6:53 p.m. UTC. https://www.facebook.com/theamandagorman/photos/812690235992604/.

(Gorman 2021, Twitter; Gorman 2021, Facebook)

 

Now, imagine if my video was re-posted by some account on YouTube called WeLoveDogs (first example) a year after the original posting. But then imagine the re-poster didn't include the name of the originator of the video, but you know his name (2nd example). Or maybe we think we know the name and original date, but aren't quite sure (3rd example).

EXAMPLES:

Warner, Todd. (2020) 2021. "Dogs at Play." YouTube video, 2:09. Posted by WeLoveDogs. March 7, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCYpMqy3iU.

[Warner, Todd]. (2020) 2021. "Dogs at Play." YouTube video, 2:09. Posted by WeLoveDogs. March 7, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCYpMqy3iU.

[Warner, Todd?]. (2020?) 2021. "Dogs at Play." YouTube video, 2:09. Posted by WeLoveDogs. March 7, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCYpMqy3iU.

(Warner [2020] 2021) and ([Warner] [2020] 2021) and ([Warner?] [2020?] 2021)


Citing Sources Is Still Too Hard

Stitching all the pieces together is not the difficult part of the process when citing sources. No, the real challenge is consistency. In the end, if you have enough data to lead to the referenced source material, you have done enough. The ordering of dates, and other extra information; should that be a period or a comma . . . all that stuff can get intimidating. Just be consistent.

This cheatsheet is merely here to give you enough to get started and to serve as a reference when you need a mental nudge. Once you get your sources together, always consult the offical The Chicago Manual if Style and verify the formatting follows the guidelines relatively closely.

Good luck.



The Examples in Summary

UCP (University of Chicago Press). 2017. The Chicago Manual of Style. 17th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Warner, Todd. 2021. "Citing Social-Media Sources (Author-Date)". Ruminations (blog), Errant Ruminant. February 22, 2021. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://errantruminant.com/blog/citation-author-date-social-media/.

(UCP 2017) and (Warner 2021)

 

Warner, Todd. 2020. Dogs at Play. Video, 2:09. www.youtube.com.

Obsidian Office Hours. 2020. MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian. October 19, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Warner 2020) and (Obsidian Office Hours 2020)

 

Gold, Anthony. 2020. MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian. Obsidian Office Hours. October 10, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

Gold, Anthony. 2020. "MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian." Obsidian Office Hours (vlog). YouTube, October 10, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

Gold, Anthony. 2020. "MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian." Obsidian Office Hours (vlog). October 10, 2020. YouTube video, 56:12. Accessed February 21, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Gold 2020)

 

Milo, Nick. 2020. MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian. Interview by Anthony Gold. Obsidian Office Hours. October 19, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

Milo, Nick. 2020. "MOCs & Idea Emergence: A Discussion w/ Nick Milo and His LYT Framework for Obsidian." Interview by Anthony Gold. Obsidian Office Hours (vlog). October 19, 2020. Video, 56:12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf830yZf0x0.

(Milo 2020)

 

Gorman, Amanda (@TheAmandaGorman). 2021. "Happy World Book Day!" Twitter, March 4, 2021, 7:02 p.m. UTC. https://twitter.com/TheAmandaGorman/status/1367551012110704640.

Gorman, Amanda. 2021. "Happy World Book Day!" Facebook photo, March 4, 2021, 6:53 p.m. UTC. https://www.facebook.com/theamandagorman/photos/812690235992604/.

(Gorman 2021, Twitter; Gorman 2021, Facebook)

 

Warner, Todd. (2020) 2021. "Dogs at Play." YouTube video, 2:09. Posted by WeLoveDogs. March 7, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCYpMqy3iU.

[Warner, Todd]. (2020) 2021. "Dogs at Play." YouTube video, 2:09. Posted by WeLoveDogs. March 7, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCYpMqy3iU.

[Warner, Todd?]. (2020?) 2021. "Dogs at Play." YouTube video, 2:09. Posted by WeLoveDogs. March 7, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCYpMqy3iU.

(Warner [2020] 2021) and ([Warner] [2020] 2021) and ([Warner?] [2020?] 2021)



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