A look at how brands and journalists are using tweets as quotable sources / by Mike Takahashi

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Has Twitter become so ubiquitous in our lives that brands and journalists are now using tweets readily as endorsements and quotes? It’s been happening for some time now, but with the rise of major brands like American Express and The New York Times now on the bandwagon, Twitter continues to be a major source information and value. Let’s take a look at some examples of how tweets are being used.

I recently bought a box of Earnest Eats and was surprised to find that they had used a tweet from Shape Magazine as an endorsement.

Photo of Tweet on Earnest Eats

American Express has also launched a new "Social Currency" campaign that encourages customers to think about spending rewards points in less traditional ways. Their latest TV commercial highlights tweets from actual card members showing how they are using Membership Rewards points to get the things they love.

The New York Times also recently used tweets in an article about Steve Jobs resignation. In the concluding paragraphs, quotes were taken directly from Twitter.

“Twitter, the instant messaging service, filled with an outpouring of grief and gratitude Wednesday night. The few ill-spirited comments or wisecracks were met with immediate retorts.

“Steve Jobs is the greatest leader our industry has ever known,” wrote Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce.com. “It’s the end of an era.”

“Funny how much emotion you can feel about a stranger,” wrote Susan Orlean, the author. “And yet every phone call I make, every time I’m on a computer, he’s part of it.”

“Very sad news about Steve Jobs at $AAPL,” wrote Jim Cramer, the CNBC host. “He is America’s greatest industrialist. Perhaps the greatest ever.”

Andy Baio, a tech entrepreneur in Portland, Ore., may have put it most directly and effectively: “We’ll miss you, Steve.”

This also brings up a very good question. If you say it on Twitter, does that mean it is now public? For seasoned journalist Farid Gaban, the answer is a firm no. “[Gaban] likens digital postings on social networking platforms to scraps of a conversation overheard from a neighboring table at a coffee shop. In that scenario, he says, what is overheard doesn’t always qualify as credible information that can be used in a legitimate news report.”

So, if the New York Times is doing it, then it must be okay, right?  What’s next? Tips left on Foursquare (actually that’s already happening) or status updates from Facebook or Google+?