How to Cite Social Media in Scholarly Writing

By, Camille Gamboa, PR, SAGE US – Follow @CamilleGamboa

While it may have taken some time for many in academe to take seriously the informal, unpredictable, and undiscriminating world of social media, sites like Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, and Vine play both a communicative and a constructive role in important societal matters. For example, it would be difficult to deny the impact that news sent out in 140 characters has had on business, political elections, and even medicine and armed conflict. In fact, the U.S. Library of Congress is taking social media seriously enough to become the permanent archive of Twitter.

As it seems that social media will only play a bigger role in future research of all disciplines, I took to doing my own research on how Facebook posts, tweets, YouTube videos, etc. should be cited in academic publications. I came across the following table from TeachBytes that I thought would be helpful to share with our SAGE Connection readers as well (thank you, Aditi!):

Social Media Citations

The Chicago Manual of Style

As it is not included here in this chart, I did some research to try to find out how to cite social media outlets following the Chicago Manual of Style. I was unable to find official guides for Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, but here is a list of what I did find below:

Blog Posts:

Firstname Lastname, “Title of the Blog Post Entry,” title or description of the blog with (blog), Date posted, url.

* Note – “(blog)” does not need to be included if the word “blog” is part of the name of the blog already.

Citations of blog posts are part of the notes and not included in the bibliography unless they are frequently cited in one paper.


Firstname Lastname, email message to XX, Date.

Citations of emails are usually provided in a note and are rarely listed in a bibliography. Email addresses should not be included.


I’ll continue to monitor the new editions of different manuals of style for social media updates, and if any of you have anything different to share, please feel free to leave comments in the box below.

This entry was posted in SAGE Connection, Tips for You. Bookmark the permalink.