MLA (Bizarre) Standard for Citing Tweets

The Modern Language Association has announced a new standard for citing tweets:

"Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author's real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

"Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet).

The word "Tweet" is rather strange to me; we don't include the words "book" or "journal" in other citations. Rather, the source is Twitter. I might also include a date when the tweet was accessed for the same reason we do so for other web content: the tweet may be deleted.

The Verge compares MLA's approach to APA's, identified two years ago:


Tweet citation in MLA

Tweet citation in APA
As The Verge writer points out, the MLA version is more helpful because it includes the real name and Twitter handle, but the APA version helps readers find the actual tweet by including a link.

The Harvard Business School Citation Guide 2012, my preferred source for business writing, doesn't include tweets at all. I imagine the theory is that tweets are considered fair use and therefore, as long as the source is clear within the text, citation is unnecessary. Or, the HBS needs updating.

Discussion Starters:

  • Do you prefer the APA or MLA citation standard? Why?
  • What's your view of not citing tweets for business writing?