Citing Social Media with Chicago Author–Date Referencing
Previously, we’ve looked at how to cite social media using Chicago footnote referencing. But if you’re using the author–date version of Chicago referencing, you will need to use a different format when citing social media posts. Check out our guide below to find out how this works.
In-Text Citations of Social Media in Chicago Referencing
If you want to use a social media post in your writing, you may not have to ‘cite’ it at all. Instead, The Chicago Manual of Style suggests simply mentioning the post in the main text. For instance:
The singer reported being ‘humbled and excited as all hell’ to be playing the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (@ArianaGrande, 3 January 2018).
Here, we’ve included the account name and date alongside a quote from a tweet. This is enough for the reader to find the tweet in question, so we do not need to give a formal citation or list the social media post in the reference list at the end of the document.
However, you should check with your tutor or lecturer before doing this in an essay, as many universities require you to cite all sources in full. To do this in Chicago author–date referencing, we would thus need to cite the author’s surname and a year of publication in brackets:
The singer reported being ‘humbled and excited as all hell’ to be playing the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (Grande 2018).
We would then give additional publication information in the reference list.
Social Media Posts in a Chicago Reference List
As described above, you only need to list social media posts in your reference list if you have cited them formally in the main text (not if you just mention them in passing). If you have cited a social media post, though, the reference list format in Chicago author–date referencing is:
Surname, First Name (Account Name). Year of Publication. ‘Excerpt from post text (up to 160 characters)’. Platform, Full Date of Publication. URL.
For instance, we would list the Ariana Grande tweet from above like this:
Grande, Ariana (@ArianaGrande). 2018. ‘humbled and excited as all hell @coachella 🌵 thank u’. Twitter, 3 January 2018. https://twitter.com/ArianaGrande/status/1080686324003278848.
And if you’d like help checking the referencing in your work, let us know.