Twitter as a force for breaking news, conveying information and yes, self-promotion, came into its own for reporters at the state Capitol during the debate over the 2011 legalization of same-sex marriage.

When news spreads fast, information here can leak like a sieve. Twitter, be it either for the debate over the SAFE Act or the efforts to oust Shelly Silver from the speaker’s chair, is an invaluable tool.

But for a state Capitol known for widespread gossip and half-truths, Twitter pumped the culture up on steroids.

In one instance, a tweet relaying a state senator’s dissatisfaction with an agreement on rent control regulations nearly scuttled a broader deal — an incident that became a case study for how powerful the microblogging website had become.

Into this situation stepped Josh Vlasto, then Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press secretary.

Vlasto became one of the first and most prominent communications aides in Albany to use Twitter to push back — sometimes forcefully — against tweets and comments made primarily by reporters who cover the Capitol. Vlasto also used Twitter to triage the spread of misinformation.

At the first, the development was jarring: The give-and-take between hack and flack expressing dissatisfaction with what was said on social media, usually conducted behind the scenes, was now out in the open.

Vlasto’s criticism — dubbed “tweet flacking” by some administration staffers — could be pointed, just like his emails or his phone calls.

“It’s only Twitter” was an excuse I used a few times to no avail.

But it was a wake-up call for reporters, especially of the younger set: What you tweet, and even retweet, on Twitter matters, even if it’s meant as an online water-cooler comment. Information on social media can spread faster than ever, and there’s a new level of complicated responsibility that comes with that.

The tweet flacking from the second floor continues: Assertions and snark made by reporters seen as unfair or inaccurate are called out by the press team, updates to the governor’s schedule — still sent over comparatively glacial email — are released on Twitter as well.

The governor’s press office also maintains a Twitter account that releases a healthy dose of information and news.

So what to make of the engagement with former Rep. Anthony Weiner on Twitter by the press office?

Weiner, a disgraced former congressman who resigned from office after it was revealed he conducted sexually explicit chats with women online, yesterday Tweeted some snark directed at Cuomo.

“Sunday’s gonna be cold,” he wrote. “Governor Cuomo will soon be closing the subway.”

An hour later, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi tweeted a response in reference to the sexting scandal.

“Yes, it is going to be cold,” he tweeted. “A good reason to keep your pants on.”

Weiner responded a time later with a joke about the federal investigation surrounding the Moreland Commission.

The tete-a-tete may have began with Cuomo making a reference to Weiner’s scandal in a New Yorker profile published this week.

Whatever started it, the joke, on the surface, is a funny one and provided some fodder for a relatively slow news day.

We also didn’t gain much from the back and forth, other than a new penis joke.

It also highlighted a growing trend among Cuomo staffers to add a dash of ridicule — which some in Albany will privately contend is far too personal — to Twitter responses.

“I’m appalled by what they do over Twitter,” said one long-time Albany communications hand. “It’s mean-spirited, it’s cavalier.”

But the back and forth appears to feed a larger outrage machine in which there is more noise than frequency.

The barbed tweets extend to other critics of the administration, including Fred Dicker, a columnist for The New York Post who has written unfavorably about the governor over the last several years.

Dicker, Azzopardi tweeted, wrote a “fact-devoid rant” that was “an especially bizarre trip through the Twilight Zone.”

Dicker in response sent another Tweet knocking the administration and linked to the column in question: “On public payroll,Gov. Cuomo’s mouthpiece engages in another ad hominem attack on journalist.”

Melissa DeRosa, the administration’s communications director responded: “who’s the journalist in this equation?”

Meanwhile, the press office is mixing it up with a digital army of Cuomo critics, some of whom appear to be one person, but with multiple accounts. The outrage is motivated by the Moreland Commission, the SAFE Act, the governor’s education policies or sometimes all of the above.

In another era, they would not have the forum of Twitter and could be dismissed as cranks and haters who have only the letters to the editor page as an outlet. But now those critics can engage directly with public officials — and reporters — via social media.

In one exchange, Azzopardi sarcastically noted how their “obsession seems totally healthy.”

“The truly wonderful thing about Twitter is that every weirdo gets a forum,” he added later.

Assembly Republicans get into the mix, too.

Steve McLaughlin, a GOP lawmaker, is an avid Twitter user who mixes criticism of the governor with outrage knocked Democratic Committee spokesman Peter Kauffmann as a “hack” at the height of the campaign last year.

Kauffmann responded: “I think the Navy must have rejected @SteveMcNY. We only take real pilots and he really wanted to be one when he grows up.”

Outrage from McLaughlin ensued (to be fair, McLaughlin doesn’t need Twitter to make inflammatory and personal comments, including comparing Cuomo’s legislative strategy to fascist dictators, which he later apologized for).

Cuomo himself doesn’t appear to Tweet. But he does view everyone involved in the conversation — especially the press — as active participants, or even combatants, who influence dialogue and ultimately policy. The governor, known to throw sharp elbows, also takes a keen interest in shaping his own media and messaging strategy.

Social media and blogging — instant analysis in an impatient age — have led politicians and their teams to go around a fragmented and distracted press and appeal directly to voters and the public.

The question is how far this dialogue can and should be taken — and the power the image can project — is yet to be resolved.