What's the correct way to cite a Facebook post, Tweet or other social media content as a source? :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
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What's the correct way to cite a Facebook post, Tweet or other social media content as a source?

Question by Scott_J

Or even a FamilyTreeCircles post! It's important to cite sources, of course. What's the best way to do that? Do you have a template that you use?

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by Scott_J Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2016-02-05 10:15:50

Scott Jangro is the owner of FamilyTreeCircles.com and has documented roots back to Mayflower passengers Stephen Hopkins and William Brewster. If you're wondering what he's doing when he's mysteriously absent, here's some links to other stuff he's responsible for: about.me/jangro.

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Answers

by karex on 2016-02-05 15:50:39

Oh, what an interesting and very important question!
What I have learned over the years, the standard accepted format (more or less) is:

Author(s), Article Title (usually in itallics or within parenthesis), Publication title, Publisher place, Publisher name, Year published, Page number(s), access date.

You will need to interpret the equivalent of the above basic template for online-obtained data, depending on the source.

For intstance, if the data was obtained through the LDS FamilySearch site (secondary), you will need to cite the respository source (LDS) and any identifying information Image nr, page nr, microfilm nr, etc), in addition to the original source (primary)from where they in turn obtained this information.

So, to cite a terciary site (such as Facebook, Tweeter or other) you will need to be able to state the ORIGINAL source from where these sites obtained the data, and also cite them (the respository), and if the repository is not the original author, state the original author as well. If the information came from a Tweet it will be all that more difficult to cite, unless it came from a world-reknowned expert in the specific field.

by Gepeto on 2016-02-12 21:36:57

Personally I would not use anything on Facebook as a source. I might note the information, but I would go looking for the original document source to check that information and then use that for the source.

How could you trust anything on facebook ?

by Scott_J on 2016-02-13 08:41:10

Sometimes real people post real stuff on Facebook, just like anywhere on the Internet.

It's not a primary source, but for people who cite all sources, if you find something there, it needs to be cited.

The same skepticism should be given to Facebook as anywhere else, but whether you trust it completely or not, you can add it to your data as a clue, and it should be cited.

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