Twitter as a source: new-age or lazy?

I’m a journalism student. I am (essentially) required to own all Apple products. I spend most of my free time cultivating my online presence (read: on Facebook). I literally get grades for tweeting and blogging.

But are tweets an acceptable source of perspective?

I’d like to think so.

I read a blog post by Christine Hauser on the NYT Lede Blog about a French soldier’s questionable clothing choice. The post used quotes from involved parties, but also included screenshots of tweets people had posted regarding their opinions. Screenshots like this have been showing up on many news blogs recently.

Some might think that perusing Twitter for sources is an ultimate testament to new media-obsessed journalists, but I think not. If people have an opinion that is thoughtful and interesting, why not include it? The Internet, for all of its vast cyberspace, is shrinking every day. I followed a link from a tweet from the Lede Blog’s Twitter to the story about the French soldier. I then popped around the site afterwards, checking on other interesting stories.

Example number two of shrinking-Internet-syndrome: A few months ago, I learned of the wonderfully artful existence of an artist named Lisa Congdon. I saw a piece of hers on Tumblr, so I Googled her, followed her on Twitter, tweeted at her (and received a reply!), followed her on Instagram and stalked her website for blog posts and new art. One little spark can create a wave of pulling the corners of the Internet in on yourself like a cuddly cyber-blanket of instant connections.

Granted, I am talking about tweets in a blog post. Do I think that tweets will make their way into hard news stories? That remains to be seen.

In the mean time, keep on microblogging.


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