APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2009-03 > 1238026756
From: Chris Staats <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Citing Facebook
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 17:19:16 -0700 (PDT)
It's interesting to see the differences in acceptance levels of newer technologies. If someone posted some tidbit on twitter about my ggg grandfather, then obviously I would want to go back and find the original source of this information.
But what about the case of living cousins, second cousins, and other family that might not mind giving you their birth date or marriage date, but probably don't want to send you copies of their actual certificates? Although the citation format of the message would be different, how does the medium in which it is conveyed make it more or less credible? I'm sure most people have a letter or email in their possession from dear Aunt Sally, listing all of her children's birth dates. You've dutifully entered the information into your database, carefully citing the letter or email.
So in a case like that, why do people feel the letter or email is somehow more reliable, provable, or more easily verified by a third party than a tweet or a facebook post? Personally, I can't actually see myself citing a tweet either, but why rule it out? In a case such as the one above, why not cite it, if that's the way the information came to you? Like webpages, you can link to specific tweets (assuming they are public, which I think is how most people use twitter). For example, I sent a tweet about this question earlier today. The link to that tweet is: http://twitter.com/cstaats/statuses/1390381234
I would base my citation on the "E-Mail Message" example from Evidence! (p. 80). For the tweet above, something like:
1. Chris Staats, "Question from APG-Rootsweb...," Twitter message from "cstaats" <http://twitter.com/cstaats/statuses/1390381234> (Chris Staats, *address or other contact info here*) to author, 25 Mar 2009.
In the case of a Facebook post or private Twitter message, I don't see that as being fundamentally any different than an email, although I would be a little more fuzzy what to include in the facebook example. It also should be noted that technically, the tweet I cited wasn't to anyone in particular, so if that were something you were actually citing, you would probably omit that part unless the tweet was directed towards you.
My novice $.02,
@cstaats ...or Chris Staats, whichever you prefer