The Stevens Writing and Communications Center Blog

The MLA Handbook for Citing Tweets and Other Oddities

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

by Laryssa Wirstiuk

Throughout my time in both undergraduate and graduate school, I knew the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers so well that I could direct a fellow student to the page that would reveal how to cite a print anthology with multiple editors.

However, the MLA Handbook I once knew so intimately has been revised and updated at least once, and many of the rules I had proudly memorized no longer apply. Remember: I was writing research papers when print was still considered a default medium on a Works Cited page; now, no default medium exists, and each must be specified.

Once a master of the MLA, I now occasionally have to remind myself whether or not students need to include the URL in an entry on the Works Cited page. Sometimes, I feel like the MLA is updating its handbook every day. Just a few weeks ago, I found out how to cite a tweet from the popular social networking website Twitter.

According to The Atlantic, citing a tweet could not be simpler:

Last Name, First Name (User Name). “The tweet in its entirety.” Date. Time. Tweet.

Whether students will feel excited or overwhelmed by this new rule is yet to be decided. One Twitter user is surprised: “doing my paper… looking up how to do MLA format, AND THERE ISMLA FORMAT FOR A TWEET“ (Darius), and another user admits that being able to cite tweets makes her “…geeky little heart bursts with glee” (Scorpio).

Are you feeling confused yet? Even writing center coordinators have to occasionally refresh their knowledge of the MLA Handbook. Students are encouraged to visit the writing center for help with properly citing sources, from the traditional single-author book to a tweet.

Works Cited

Darius, King (@Damn_DMAC). “doing my paper… looking up how to do MLA format, AND THERE ISMLA FORMAT FOR A TWEET!…. -_____-.“ 25 March 2012. 7:41 PM. Tweet.

Scorpio, Miss (@gemini_scorpio). “MLA sets guidelines for citing tweets in academic papers. My geeky little heart bursts with glee. Love this. http://bit.ly/yHzIxo.” 25 March 2012. 8:24 AM. Tweet.

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