Last week, I wrote a post about how Wikipedia is being seen more and more often as a legitimate source. Now Twitter is a source that you can cite in your academic papers. Although MLA (Modern Language Association) announced the correct way to cite a tweet back in March, I only just found out about it a few days ago, and it made my inner scholar squeal with delight. So this is the format you’d use:
So does that mean Twitter is becoming a legitimate news source? I suppose it could be, because the major news networks and many authoritative sources do have Twitter accounts, and because Twitter is updated constantly throughout the day, it often has the latest news before any other form of media. But there is the question of permanence. Online content can be changed, moved, and deleted so easily that the tweet cited may no longer be online even a week after it’s cited.
What does this mean for academic scholarship, though, since Twitter and Facebook aren’t universally seen as legitimate sources? When is it appropriate to cite tweets and Facebook posts? I think that would depend on what kind of a paper you’re writing, and what kind of journal or publication you’d want to submit that paper to. I suppose the more prestigious the publication, the more legitimate sources you’d want to cite. But if you were writing for a college or high school class, those types of sources might be a bit more appropriate. I guess it’s a common sense or judgement kind of thing.
What do you think?