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Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

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Social Media Overview

Chicago differs from other citation styles in that it treats social media citations as similar to personal communication. As such, social media citations normally appear only as an in-text citation. Direct and private messages should be treated as personal communication. Limited guidance is provided from Chicago on how to cite social media sources in the notes and bibliography, as this is not the recommended approach by Chicago. In this guide, additional citation examples are provided, as students often seek to cite all sources in the notes and bibliography.

14.209 Citing Social Media Content / Quick Guide Examples

  • If there is not a clear title to the post, quote up to the first 160 characters of the post to use in place of a title. 
  • Comments on a post are cited in reference to the original post.

If a social media citation is used frequently in your paper, or examined extensively, then include it in the Bibliography. Otherwise, it should appear only within the text, or the notes. A note or bibliography citation should include the following elements:

  1. real name (if available) and screen name
  2. title (can be first 160 characters of post)
  3. social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter and a description such as photo or video (not needed for text)
  4. date of the post (month, day, year) Ex. April 16, 2020 
  5. time of the post only if helpful in differentiating multiple posts on the same day, not otherwise required
  6. URL to the specific item

‚ÄčRecommended tip: Check with your professor regarding expectations for social media citations in the Chicago style.

Facebook

In-text

In the text of your paper, even when using notes and bibliography style, cite social media as an in-text citation if there is limited use of the source.

Sample sentence for Facebook citation: The Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO) at UBC plays a key role in providing education to foster change at the university. The EIO makes use of social media as a way to connect students, staff and faculty with resources that promote equity, diversity and inclusion (@ubcequity, June 16, 2020). 

Follow Notes and Bibliography examples only if item is used frequently or the source is examined extensively

Shortened Note

9. Equity and Inclusion Office (@ubcequity), "In this moment."

Note 

9. Equity and Inclusion Office (@ubcequity), "In this moment of resistance, what can you do to go beyond reading lists? Check out this resource for structured recommendations and guidance on anti-racist work," Facebook, June 16, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/pg/ubcequity/posts/?ref=page_internal.

Bibliography 

Equity and Inclusion Office (@ubcequity). "In this moment of resistance, what can you do to go beyond reading lists? Check out this resource for structured recommendations and guidance on anti-racist work." Facebook, June 16, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/pg/ubcequity/posts/?ref=page_internal.

Instagram

In-text

In the text of your paper, even when using notes and bibliography style, cite social media as an in-text citation if there is limited use of the source.

Sample sentence for Instagram citation: In response to George Floyd's death and the resulting protest movement, a solid black post appeared on the official UBC Instagram as part of the #Blackout Tuesday campaign (@universityofbc, June 1, 2020).

Follow Notes and Bibliography examples only if item is used frequently or the source is examined extensively

Shortened Note 

10. University of British Columbia (@universityofbc), "Together."

Note 

10. University of British Columbia (@universityofbc), "Together against Racism and Injustice - a message from @ubcprez," Instagram photo, June 1, 2020, https://www.instagram.com/p/CA59EvXguDu/.

Bibliography 

University of British Columbia (@universityofbc). "Together against Racism and Injustice - a message from @ubcprez." Instagram photo, June 1, 2020. https://www.instagram.com/p/CA59EvXguDu/.

Twitter

In-text

In the text of your paper, even when using notes and bibliography style, cite social media as an in-text citation if there is limited use of the source.

Sample sentence for Twitter citation: During the global Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the Black Lives Matter organization brought focused attention to the disproportionate deaths of Black people from the virus. Posts like "#COVID19 may not discriminate, but we know America does. And we are vulnerable" highlight the health impacts of racial inequality (@Blklivesmatter, April 7, 2020). 

Follow Notes and Bibliography examples only if item is used frequently or the source is examined extensively

Shortened Note 

11. Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter), "#COVID19 may not discriminate."

Note 

11. Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter), "#COVID19 may not discriminate, but we know America does. And we are vulnerable," Twitter, April 7, 2020, https://twitter.com/blklivesmatter.

Bibliography 

Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter). "#COVID19 may not discriminate, but we know America does. And we are vulnerable." Twitter, April 7, 2020. https://twitter.com/blklivesmatter.

Comment on Post

Comments on a post are cited only in text in reference to the original post. Include time of comment in citation, if available.

In-text

In the text of your paper, even when using notes and bibliography style, cite social media as an in-text citation if there is limited use of the source.

Sample sentence for a Social Media Comment citation: In response to George Floyd's death and the resulting protest movement, a solid black post appeared on the official UBC Instagram as part of the #Blackout Tuesday campaign. While this post was liked more than 4000 times within two weeks, some of the comments were critical of UBC's willingness to enact anti-racist change (@danika_vincent_, June 1, 2020, comment on University of British Columbia 2020).

Follow Notes and Bibliography examples only if item is used frequently or the source is examined extensively

Shortened Note 

12. University of British Columbia (@universityofbc), "Together.

Note

12. University of British Columbia (@universityofbc), "Together against Racism and Injustice - a message from @ubcprez," Instagram photo, June 1, 2020, https://www.instagram.com/p/CA59EvXguDu/.

Bibliography 

University of British Columbia (@universityofbc). "Together against Racism and Injustice - a message from @ubcprez." Instagram photo, June 1, 2020. https://www.instagram.com/p/CA59EvXguDu/.