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Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

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. In this guide, additional citation examples are provided, as students often seek to cite all sources in formal in-text citations and in the reference list.

Section 15.52: Citing social media content in author-date format / 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 as a formal in-text citation and in the Reference List. Otherwise, it should appear only within a sentence. A Reference List entry 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, if relevant
  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

Check with your professor regarding expectations for social media citations in the Chicago style.

Instagram

Cite social media within the text of your paper, following the sample sentence below if use of the source is limited 

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 In-Text and Reference List examples only if item is used frequently or the source is examined extensively

In-text Citation 

(University of British Columbia 2020).

Reference List 

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

Facebook

Cite social media within the text of your paper, following the sample sentence below if use of the source is limited 

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 In-Text and Reference List examples only if item is used frequently or the source is examined extensively

In-text Citation

(Equity and Inclusion Office 2020).

Reference List 

Equity and Inclusion Office (@ubcequity). 2020. "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, 10:41. https://www.facebook.com/pg/ubcequity/posts/?ref=page_internal.

Twitter

In the text of your paper, cite social media within the text of your paper, following the sample sentence below if use of the source is limited 

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 In-Text and Reference List examples only if item is used frequently or the source is examined extensively

In-text Citation

(Black Lives Matter 2020)

Reference List 

Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter). 2020. "#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.

Cite social media within the text of your paper, following the sample sentence below if use of the source is limited. 

Sample sentence for 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 (@universityofbc, June 1, 2020). While this post was liked more than 4000 times, some of the comments were critical of UBC's willingness or ability to enact anti-racist change (@danika_vincent_, June 1, 2020, comment on University of British Columbia 2020).

Follow In-Text and Reference List examples only if item is used frequently or the source is examined extensively

In-text Citation 

(University of British Columbia 2020).

Reference List 

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

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