How to cite a Tumblr post?

Create a spot-on reference in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and other styles

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What is Tumblr and what types of posts are there on Tumblr?

Tumblr is a social network and a microblogging platform headquartered in the United States.

The users of Tumblr can publish various types of posts in their personal blogs: text, video, audio, images, citations, links, and combined posts with multiple file formats attached (the so-called Neue Post Format, or NPF). Also, the posts from the blogs of other people and companies can be shared (reblogged).

As of December 2021, Tumblr hosts almost 539 million blogs. Thanks to its features, the social network is among the world’s most popular websites.

Who needs to cite Tumblr posts?

Even though social media posts do not belong to credible academic sources, they can still be important for research. Such posts can provide analytical data, e.g. for linguistic analysis, monitoring of the reaction of particular social groups to specific events, marketing research, and so on.

Due to their specifics, the posts from Tumblr can be a source of original visuals, audio files, etc. Therefore, they are cited widely in various scientific sectors, primarily in the humanities: economics, philology, political science, cultural studies, etc.

How to cite the posts from Tumblr?

Tumblr posts: blogs or social networks?

The latest editions of the international citation style manuals may provide different rules for citing websites, blogs, and social media posts. Therefore, it is worth deciding first how to classify the Tumblr posts in these terms.

As noted reasonably by the authors of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), it is often difficult to discern between a website, a blog, and a social network. Tumblr actually combines the features of a social network and of blogs.

In our opinion, bearing in mind the interactive nature of the Tumblr blogs and their orientation toward social communication, in the context of referencing, the Tumblr posts should be considered as social media posts. This approach is also supported by the APA Manual of Style (7th ed.), where Tumblr is given explicitly as an example of a website to be cited as a social network.

What elements to give in a bibliographic reference?

There is no single template. Every citation style has its specific requirements to particular source types, including social media posts.

In general, most often, a bibliographic reference should contain the following elements to identify a social media post: author’s name and/or pseudonym (handle), publication date, title/first words/description of the post, name of the social media, URL of the post, and date viewed.

How to locate the elements required for citing a Tumblr post?

Let’s consider a particular example: the profile of the singer Taylor Swift

Step 1. In the post feed, find the post that you want to cite, click on the options button, and go to the post’s permanent URL address (permalink):

How to find the permalink to a Tumblr postImage source:

Step 2. Now, you have two options:

Option 1. The complex one. Write down all the elements that you see on the page on your own.

Option 2. The simple one. Copy the permalink and paste it into the form for referencing a social media post on Grafiati: we will collect and fill in all the required data automatically:

Citing a Tumblr post with GrafiatiImage source:

How to compile a bibliographic reference to a Tumblr post?

Let’s continue with the options from the previous section.

Option 1. The complex one. You need to analyse the requirements of the particular citation style to be applied to your paper and give all the elements in the reference in accordance with these requirements. Remember to meet all the specific rules: the case of the words, the use of italics, the applicable word limits (for example, APA Style requires providing only the first 20 words, counting the hashtags and the emojis as separate words), the definition of the post type, etc.

If you wish getting acquainted with the detailed rules for referencing social media posts, including the ones from Tumblr, in various citation styles (APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, etc.), we have prepared the detailed instructions for you in our Referencing guides section.

Option 2. The simple one. Click on the ‘Add reference’ button as illustrated on the screenshot above, and we will generate the reference in the chosen citation style automatically.

Examples of bibliographic references to Tumblr posts

The examples below show how to cite the above post by Taylor Swift in a bibliography accordance with different citation styles:

Citation style Bibliographic reference
APA (7th ed.) Swift, T. [@taylorswift]. (2021, November 18). One of the saddest songs I’ve ever written just got sadder 🙃Drove up to Long Pond Studios to record [Image attached] [Post]. Tumblr.
MLA (9th ed.) Swift, Taylor [@taylorswift]. "One of the saddest songs I’ve ever written just got sadder 🙃Drove up to Long Pond Studios to record All Too Well (Sad Girl..." Tumblr, 18 Nov. 2021,
Harvard Swift, T. [taylorswift], (2021). [One of the saddest songs I’ve ever written just got sadder 🙃Drove up to Long Pond Studios to record All Too Well (Sad Girl] [Tumblr]. 18 November. [Viewed 10 December 2021]. Available from:
Chicago (17th ed.) (notes and bibliography) Swift, Taylor (@taylorswift). "One of the saddest songs I’ve ever written just got sadder 🙃Drove up to Long Pond Studios to record All Too Well (Sad Girl..." Tumblr, 18 November 2021.
ISO 690:2010 SWIFT, Taylor [@taylorswift]. One of the saddest songs I’ve ever written just got sadder 🙃Drove up to Long Pond Studios to record All ... [post]. Tumblr. 18 November 2021 [viewed 10 December 2021]. Available from:
Vancouver Swift T. Tumblr [Internet]. One of the saddest songs I’ve ever written just got sadder 🙃Drove up to Long Pond Studios to record All [post]; 2021 Nov 18 [cited 2021 Dec 10]. Available from:
ABNT NBR 6023:2018 (author-date) SWIFT, Taylor. One of the saddest songs I’ve ever written just got sadder 🙃Drove up to Long Pond Studios to record All [...]. 18 Nov. 2021. Tumblr: @taylorswift. Available from: Accessed: 10 Dec. 2021.

Why is it worth citing the posts from Tumblr with Grafiati?

If you are creating the references manually, you will encounter many difficulties: from the collection of metadata to the correct compilation of the bibliographic reference. The online service Grafiati allows automating the process and offers the following benefits:

  • Correct references in various citation styles. All the examples above were created automatically by the citation generator Grafiati. They are fully compliant with the requirements of the citation styles or, whenever such requirements are not stated explicitly, are based on the recommendations of educational institutions and on the general practices of the particular style.
  • Correct metadata. We interact with Tumblr programmatically and fill in the data fields (e.g. author’s name and nickname, publication date, etc.) automatically. In addition, our algorithms identify automatically the type of the post and the files attached, i.e. you are not required to make any additional actions.
  • Minimum time expenditures. It suffices for you to paste the hyperlink to the post and to click on the button – that’s all.
  • Ease of interaction. If the requirements to your paper have changed, you can convert the reference to the Tumblr post from APA into MLA or into any other citation style in one click.

To create a bibliographic reference to a Tumblr post on our website, go to our homepage, select ‘Social media post’ as the source type from the appropriate menu, and paste the link to the post from Tumblr.

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