How to cite a tweet in APA Style
To reference a tweet in APA Style, include the author’s name and username, the date the tweet was posted, the text of the tweet in italics, “Tweet” in square brackets, “Twitter,” and the URL.
For tweets longer than 20 words, only include the first 20 in your reference.
|Format||Author name, Initials [@username]. (Year, Month Day). Text of tweet [Tweet]. Twitter. URL|
|Reference list||Davidson, L. [@lisa_b_davidson]. (2021, March 22). Has anyone ever written about why some initials work as names in English (KC, JP, and most things followed by [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/lisa_b_davidson/status/1374036090038988802|
|In-text citation||(Davidson, 2021)|
Where to find the information for your citation
The information you need to cite a tweet is easy to find on the site.
Author names and usernames
Write the author name in the usual inverted format, not how it appears on Twitter. If the author is an organization, list the organization in the author position. The username is always included, preceded by “@” and using the same capitalization as on the site:
|Reference list||American Civil Liberties Union [@ACLU]. (2020, October 20). VICTORY: Georgia will have additional dropboxes this cycle in DeKalb County. There are 14 days left until Election Day, and [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/1318651204277329928|
|In-text citation||(American Civil Liberties Union, 2020)|
Multimedia content in tweets
If the tweet contains any additional content besides words (e.g. images, video, links, polls), this should be stated in a separate set of square brackets before “[Tweet].” For example, the following tweet contains a link to an article:
This tweet contains an image:
Citing a full Twitter profile
If you want to cite an entire Twitter profile rather than an individual tweet, the format is slightly different. You’ll list the year as “n.d.” (no date) and include a retrieval date, since the contents of the profile can change over time.
|Reference list||Pinker, S. [@sapinker]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from https://twitter.com/sapinker|
|In-text citation||(Pinker, n.d.)|
Citing protected tweets or DMs
Some content on Twitter is private: tweets from protected accounts (accounts only accessible to approved followers) and DMs (direct messages) from any account. Because the reader won’t be able to access this content, it should be cited as personal communications.
Personal communications don’t appear in your reference list. Just refer to them in parentheses in the text, giving the date of the communication. You can specify the format (“protected tweet,” “direct message”) or just write “personal communication.”
Frequently asked questions about APA Style citations
- When should I include an access date in an APA citation?
However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-the-university.html