How to Cite an Instagram

How to Cite an Instagram Post

Social media might be something you do for fun in your spare time, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never need to use social media posts in a more formal setting. With hundreds of millions of users on Instagram, there is a ton of relevant and verifiable content, so learning how to cite an Instagram post is useful. Regardless of whether you’re looking to cite an Instagram photo or video, we have you covered for MLA format, APA format, and Chicago style.

Citing these kinds of posts might seem tricky, but we’ve laid out clear instructions below on how to cite each kind of post, supplemented by citations of example posts from cool Instagram accounts you should totally check out.

Citing an Instagram Photo

When you’re looking to cite a photo from Instagram, you need only take four important pieces of information into consideration. You don’t need to worry about anything else other than which of the three citation styles you need for your particular assignment or paper.

To correctly cite an Instagram photo, you must take the following pieces of information into consideration:

  1. Instagram account holder’s name (or username)
  2. Photo title or description
  3. Names of any other contributors
  4. Date photo was published on Instagram
  5. Date it was accessed
  6. Photo URL

Note: Citing a photo that you retrieved from Instagram isn’t much different than citing a photo that you found anywhere else online, and once you get the hang of it, you should be in good shape to cite any photo on Instagram, regardless of what account it is posted on.

How to cite an instagram - National Geographic

To help make the process a little easier to understand, we’ve included an example (a cool nature photo that was reposted on National Geographic’s Instagram account from photographer Corey Arnold’s account).

Use the following structure to cite an Instagram photo in MLA 8:

Account holder’s Last name, First name or Username. “Photo Title or Description.”* Instagram, Other contributors, Date photo was published, URL (without http:// or https://).

*If no title is available, create a simple description and do not place it in italics or quotation marks.

Here’s how the above example would be cited in MLA 8:

National Geographic. Photo of Bering Sea. Instagram, photographed by Corey Arnold, 2 Apr. 2017,  www.instagram.com/p/BSaisVuDk7S/?taken-by=natgeo.

Use the following structure to cite an Instagram photo in APA:

Account holder’s Last Name, First Initial or Username (Year, Date Published). Photo title* [Photo description].  Retrieved from URL

*If the person’s full name and their username are both available, place the full name first and then their [username] inside brackets directly following it.

**If the item does not have an official title, place a description of it in brackets.

Here’s how the above example would be cited in APA:

National Geographic [@NatGeo]. (2017, April 2). [Photograph of the Bering Sea by Corey Arnold]. Retrieved from http://www.instagram.com/p/BSaisVuDk7S/?taken-by=natgeo

Use the following structure to cite an Instagram photo in Chicago:

Account holder’s Last name, First name or Username. “Photo Title.” Instagram, Date published. Date accessed. URL. 

Here’s how the above example would be cited in Chicago:

National Geographic. “Photo of Bering Sea by Corey Arnold.” Instagram, April 2, 2017. Accessed April 7, 2017. http://www.instagram.com/p/BSaisVuDk7S/?taken-by+natgeo.

 

Citing an Instagram Video

In addition to learning how to cite photos on Instagram, you also might be wondering how to cite videos posted to the social media platform, especially since more and more people seem to be incorporating videos on social media in addition to photos. Luckily, the process for citing videos from Instagram is pretty similar to the process for citing photos from Instagram—and it’s also similar to the process of citing videos found on any other website.

While it might seem confusing initially, if you take note of the pieces of information listed below, you should be in good shape!

To correctly cite an Instagram video, you must take the following pieces of information into consideration:

  1. Instagram poster’s name (or username)
  2. Video title or description
  3. Names of any other contributors
  4. Date the video was published on Instagram
  5. Date it was accessed
  6. Video URL

Note: Once you have these pieces of information, you just need to check and make sure you’re using the proper citation style as needed for your particular assignment or paper. All three citation styles outlined here require these four important pieces of information and nothing more.

How to cite an instagram video doug the pug

Below, you’ll find details on how to cite in MLA 8, APA and Chicago styles, as well as a specific example of a video cited from Instagram (check out @itsdougthepug for more photos and videos like this one).

Use the following structure to cite an Instagram video in MLA 8:

Poster’s Last name, First Name or Username. “Video Title.”*  Instagram, Other contributors, Date published, URL (without http:// or https://).

*If no title is available, create a simple description and do not place it in italics or quotation marks.

Here’s how the above example would be cited in MLA 8:

@itsdougthepug. “I Climb All The Time…Into Bed.” Instagram, April 2, 2017, www.instagram.com/p/BSWo9-0j940/?taken-by=itsdougthepug&hl=en.

Use the following structure to cite an Instagram video in APA:

Poster’s Last Name, First Initial. [Username].* (Year, Date). Title of video [Video File] (or short description if there’s no title. Place this information in brackets). Retrieved from URL

*If the author’s full name is not available, place their username first.

Here’s how the above example would be cited in APA:

@itsdougthepug. (2017, April 2). I climb all the time…into bed [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BSWo9-0j940/?taken-by=itsdougthepug&hl=en

Use the following structure to cite an Instagram video in Chicago:

Poster’s Last name, First name or Username. “Video Title.” Instagram video, Date published. Date accessed. URL.

Here’s how the above example would be cited in Chicago:

@itsdougthepug. “I Climb All The Time…Into Bed.” Instagram video.  April 2, 2017. Accessed April 7, 2017. https://www.instagram.com/p/BSWo9-0j940/?taken-by=itsdougthepug&hl=en.


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Ella Chochrek

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