To “MT” or “RT” on Twitter? That is the Question.

When I first took notice of “MT”s (Modified Tweets) in my Twitter feed, I commented on someone’s blog post on the topic that I really didn’t see the point in it. Why complicate things? “RT” (Retweet) covers it.

I take that back.

Though I originally objected to yet another Tweetism that would make Twitter an even more mysterious and scary platform for those who so want to dip their toes in the water but can’t muster the courage, I now find myself using MT in most of my retweets.

Why MT vs. RT?

MT indicates openly that you’ve in some way changed the content of the tweet you’re retweeting.

When should you use it?  MT when…

  • you eliminate words from a tweet to make it shorter to fit the confines of Twitter’s 140-character limit. To facilitate retweeting, you might consider cutting a tweet so it provides room for “RT @” plus your Twitter handle.
  • you change or eliminate a portion of a tweet that might not be appropriate for your audience. Maybe it’s too niche focused or perhaps it has strong language. Either way, MT!
MT Example:

MT (Modified Tweet)

Rules of thumb:
  • MT when you’ve done more than just add or remove punctuation or spaces in a retweet.
  • Don’t MT or RT if you’ve changed a tweet’s content and/or intent beyond recognition. In that case, create your own intro, share the link and mention (@) the Twitter user who brought it to your stream.

Although I don’t view tweets as works of art that should be protected as creative property, I do believe it is common courtesy to acknowledge that a retweet no longer reflects verbatim the words of its source. I predict lots more MTs in your Twitter Home Feed’s future!

Using MTs yet? What unspoken rules do you have for MTing and RTing?

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