Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to cite a Google Plus post or comment in APA style - a guess

Mind this is a guess, I'm sure APA will come out with guidance if it becomes a big issue, as they've touched on Twitter and Facebook already, and this follows the same principles.

At the time of writing it will have to work differently for a google+ post than a comment to a g+ post because only the time of a post provides a permalink.

For a google+ post:
Author, I. (year, Month, day). [Constructed title, perhaps "Google+ post about..." or the first few words of the post...]. Retrieved day month year from >permalink from timecode<

Meerbach, M. (2011, July 13). [Google+ post: "Uses for empty circles. 1. Bookmarks. / {kwout in google+ test}..."]. Retrieved 13 July 2011 from https://plus.google.com/107965671267142239949/posts/TSP196dhgmi

Challenges to citing a comment to a google+ post are: the comment doesn't have a permalink (yet?); that neither have titles; no globally reliable way to easily locate one comment if it is amongst potentially hundreds/thousands. I'm guessing that the "time" google shows me for any post or comment will be different to the time it shows someone in a different timezone.

Still, perhaps this would work:

Baltzell, J. (2011, July 12). [Comment: "You're a member of every circle you create..."]. To [Google+ post by Jenniffer Baltzell: "Using the bejeebers out of my "Read Later" circle"]. Retrieved 13 July 2011 from https://plus.google.com/103854478178815355356/posts/BxpnMgu9WUN
Which is the closest I can get to this particular comment:
And that is a title composed completely by the kwout tool - I wonder where they got the "Reader Later" bit?

Caveats:
  • This would only work with public posts
    • As posts can be deleted, if continued access to the material you cite is important, it might be worth taking a screenshot and archiving the image.
  • Dates will be relative to the viewer, but as the variance will only be within a day it is still more useful than not giving a day at all.
  • If those permalinks get really long, perhaps your readers would appreciate a shortened link

In-text citation issues:
  • location: 
    • not necessary in short posts? 
    • use para or ¶ in longer posts
Pseudonyms:
  • Use the name as given.
    • Quite early on disputes have arisen about the use of pseudonyms with Google+ with at least one account (that to me appears to have been for a valid online identity) suspended. While I hope that the policy is changed, not all such accounts have been removed, and the author would be however they identify themselves.

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