If you’re citing a YouTube video, blog, Instagram, or really any other random thing you find on the internet, it is up to you to evaluate the source for legitimacy. Ask yourself: who posted the video or article? Who produced it? Is it truly relevant and respected in the area you’re writing about, or just some person? If you find a video on YouTube and it was posted by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Dean of Literature at Stanford College, that’s very different than if it’s posted by someone named “Yolo945” who mostly posts unwrapping videos and Katy Perry covers.
Even if the source looks legitimate, you shouldn’t trust the posters’ name or given information. Can you follow links to confirm they are who they say they are? Are those videos also posted on their own website? If you can’t find evidence of the poster or their organization existing it’s a problem for you and for your works cited or reference page.
Referencing Twitter isn’t entirely different from referencing YouTube. Twitter is often lauded for its good uses (aiding communication for people under totalitarian regimes; helping people get assistance during terrorist attacks; even helping authors promote books) and maligned for its negative uses (lack of depth; stalking and harassing, especially of female celebrities).
If you have occasion to quote or references a tweet or series of tweets in your essay, please keep in mind that they should be treated like any other electronic source.
1. Don’t quote someone because you like what they say. Quote them because their tweets have relevance to your assignment.
2. If the author is relevant to your assignment (rather than the hashtag or tweet), confirm that they have legitimacy (see YouTube, etc., above).
3. If quoting an expert, celebrity, etc., confirm that their Twitter handle is actually linked to them and that they either create the tweets themselves or take responsibility for them.