Twitter as a legitimate mouthpiece

As a journalist, one of the more fascinating things to observe about Twitter’s development from a nascent fascination to an established social medium is how reporters have handled the actual Tweets that populate it.

At first, it seemed many were hesitant to quote Tweets in articles, as if the words were some kind of second-class quote not fit to print in a regular broadsheet.

This weekend’s NFL Draft, though, offered another affirmation that for many reporters, Tweets are just as good as in-person quotes:

This ESPN article based an entire article about a linebacker’s optimism in finding work in the NFL on a pair of Tweets.

This New York Daily News article — and many others like it — used a Tweet by Reggie Bush to ignite a media firestorm surrounding his future with the New Orleans Saints.

This Modesto Bee article, despite the author’s firsthand access to a player during a conference call, opens by citing a Tweet of his.

Personally, this “movement” — if you want to call it that — doesn’t really bother me. Even if Tweets aren’t literally spoken, they’re still worthy of being heard. (Well, most of them.)

And a lot of times, Tweets can show a lot more about a person’s mood or disposition than a generic, over-the-phone quote. In the Modesto Bee article above, the subject’s Tweet contains no fewer than five exclamation points. That, I think, is a pretty good indication of what he truly thinks about being drafted.

There are pitfalls to this — what if the Tweets aren’t actually being posted by the supposed person? — but I think the chances of them are so small to the point that the danger is negligible. Thoughts?

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