Ever seen ‘MT’ in the initial position of someone’s tweet and thought: ‘is that a typo?’
Actually no, it isn’t.
Rather, it is a signifier of the fact that the poster has kindly added a little value of their own to the tweet in republishing it by modifying it.
‘MT‘ means ‘modified tweet‘.
‘Why would you want to modify a tweet?’ you may not unreasonably ask.
As it happens, there are a plethora of reasons why an admiring user may wish to tweak the content of a tweet in order to boost the value it delivers whilst still ensuring a respectful attribution to the original poster.
These could include:
- Changing a hashtag in order to share the content with another Twitter chat community
- Indicating that you have added (or perhaps deleted) an element of the tweet, usually indicated by placing the altered element in [square brackets] to offer another angle, challenge an assertion, or confer approval.
- Correcting a typo or factual error (be sure it is actually an error; again, flag up the change you’ve made)
- As part of a broader exercise in content curation
Regarding the question of respectful attribution: you may ask ‘isn’t it rude to modify someone’s tweet?’ Ultimately, this is a matter of personal opinion. For my own part, I’m delighted to see someone MT a tweet that I have posted on the basis that it indicates to me that the original publication triggered a chain of thought, a pattern of association, or a new conversation.
For me, the MT encapsulates the benefits and virtues of social business in two letters.