Recently I learned of a website called Tweet2Cite.com. Tweet2Cite is a pretty simple idea, you post the link of a tweet into the entry space, and it will automatically convert it into MLA or APA format to be used as a citation in academic writings.
I might be a little late to the party on this one, but this is how I learned that the MLA (the Modern Language Association) were recognizing tweets as a viable academic source. This is pretty surprising to me, and it makes me think about how far society has come in regards to trusting online sources.
Imagine 10 years ago the flak someone may have received for trying to cite a Myspace page in an academic study. Even today there is still a stigma associated with citing Wikipedia, but as these online sources become more ingrained in society these thoughts of academic legitimacy are starting to change.
One of things about this that strikes me in particular about this is that with social media people are able to engage, and interact with each other more than ever before. If I want to use an individuals tweet as a point of reference, not only do I now have the ability to do so, but reaching out to that person to either elaborate on their thoughts, or to get into a full on debate about the subject at hand is easier than ever before. I’m sure citing a full on Twitter conversation you had with the individual you are writing an essay on would be really impressive to a scholarly type.
There are always risks, but I believe with due diligence they can be managed. Twitter is ripe with parody accounts of influential individuals, and ensuring that you are actually citing, or conversing with the actual person versus a phony account. I can see a few headaches being caused, but nothing so far as to determine the platform as being an illegitimate source.
It also makes me think about what may be recognized in the future. Maybe soon we’ll be able to cite conversations that occur in Empire Avenue Communities! What do you guys think about the legitimacy of online sources? Feel free to leave a comment below!