Twitter

What does MT mean on Twitter?

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.

Need help with social business development? Contact me here.

If you’d prefer, you can of course tweet me, or email me. I look forward to working with you soon.

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56 thoughts on “What does MT mean on Twitter?

  1. I use MT a fair amount, especially when cross-pollinating between communities. This means (for me) modifying an interesting tweet written for a particular audience to suit another audience. When I think people in my community would be interested in a tweet (or more likely the link in a tweet) but a tweak to the original message will grab their attention more effectively, I make a modification.

    Modifying tweets and using MT is respectful to the author and shows that you know your communities and that you are listening. It is good practice of a connector.

  2. Another Gem of knowledge Andrew. thank you.

    “I also think cross -pollinating between communities” @Colleen Young is a good idea. While my intentions have been an attempt for a positive result I was not aware of the goal of a MT. Upon further reflection a person would add another audience # that goes in direct opposition to the goal of the first Tweet.

    Could you help me with this point of clarification: So each time I agree with a point another has made and want to add another comment I should be placing a MT instead of RT before the original authors name?

    I do believe we are associated by the company so to focus upon good Twitter Manners not only for ourselves but also the #HCSM community we participant within is an important consideration.

    Lisa
    P.S. I had to chuckle when I saw this recent post I received in response to your Ink Andrew.

    @MT@PracticalWisdom No. MT was not done right.

    • Hi Lisa

      Thanks for the comment :) This post picks up crazy amounts of traffic, and I should really thank the wisdom of @blogbrevity and her amazing Letter.li service for giving me the idea in the first place.

      Re. Your example – no, that doesn’t sound like an MT to me, rather it’s an RT with your comment added, with the division between the two clearly flagged.

      The MT tag – for me, at least – only kicks in when a change (any change) is made in the body of the original tweet.

  3. Awesome post Andrew! I was on Twitter for Blackberry late tonight and saw “MT” on this girl’s post. I did a quick google search and viola…found this blog post.

    Love getting the inside scoop on the Twit. Will I use MT on my next repost? Heck yea. -R.C.

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  6. Thanks for clarifying this! Sometimes I have to modify a tweet because it becomes too long once I add my comment at the front or it’s an article and I want to change the “point pulled” from the article. Now I know how to properly do this! I also got here by searching “What does MT mean on Twitter?”

    • My modifications are often due to length-@Coby. I will add MT in the future. Also, I arrived at this page while researching “MT”. :-)

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  9. Really useful. I’m being a bit daft here I know but how do I MT? Just copy and paste? Or is there a special button on twitter somewhere that I can’t find…

    • Hi Kate

      Thanks for your comment.

      Short form answer: take a look at this:

      http://stwem.com/2011/11/28/what-does-retweet-mean-on-twitter/

      Long form answer: when using the Twitter web interface, all RTs are now automated, precluding the possibility of using MT unless you’re going to copy and paste the text of the tweet you wish to modify.

      However, if you use a feed management application such as Tweetdeck, it is possible to set the interface to prompt you to either auto-retweet or to manually retweet.

      MTs can then be published using the latter option by simply replacing the ‘R’ with an ‘M’ to make ‘RT’ ‘MT’ and then amend the tweet as you wish, adding such emphasis or modifications as you desire.

      All of which makes this sound a lot more complicated than it is :)

      ‘You just type ‘MT’ where ‘RT’ is, and change whatever else you want to’ would have been another way of putting it. ;)

    • Hi Matthew

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Well, there are an awful lot of tweets out there ;) All I can say is that this post seems to get a great many links from Google search, so I can only assume that there are in fact a fair few tweets published using MT that perplex people sufficiently enough to want to find out what it means.

      As a fraction of tweets published as a whole however, I agree.

  10. Exactly the info I was after. (Google search string “twitter what does MT mean?”) I, too, rarely see MT but now realize that’s what I should be using much of the time. I hope to see more MTs so that the accuracy and reliability of each tag is improved.

  11. Thank you! I was mystified by MT when I saw it, and worried about modifying other’s tweets before RTing them, even for length.

  12. I guess I don’t see the point; for me a RT works in any situation; especially since so many ppl are wondering what the heck a MT is! I have to modify enough to make tweets short enough to even RT them, modifying even more to make them MT rather than a RT…just too much work to try and share someone else info. IMHO.

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  14. well, sometimes RT isn’t possible due to length & I edit down…replace “for” with “4” for example. Don’t think those are MT…are they?

    Tweetdeck’s ability to send Long RT’s is gone w/Twitter purchase & I hate to change platforms…plus I still think point is 140 characters. If I want a post to be RT’d, I keep to below 120 characters so no editing needed!

  15. “The MT tag – for me, at least – only kicks in when a change (any change) is made in the body of the original tweet.”

    Thanks for this clarification – I always comment on a RT – but there have been times that I have modified the original tweet – usually only for character count! …so could def use the MT tag!

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  17. Like some of the other commenters I’ve been MT’d for the first time today, Googled it, and ended up here… and what a find! Really appreciate the insights offered. You write beautifully! Thanks. You’re so followed on Twitter! :0)

  18. I didn’t know what MT was. Googled it and found your great post. I often edit others’ tweets simply yo get the retweet down to 140 characters, but until today, I’d never seen MT and all of sudden I see three in an hour! I really do wonder how widely this is understood and no one has ever complained about me editing their tweets as a standard RT.

    • Thanks for the kind words. Not knowing what ‘MT’ means isn’t going to stop anyone using Twitter, of course, but it can be a productive, as well as courteous, value-add for those who elect to use it.

  19. Yet another person directed here from Google. Thanks for the helpful and concise explanation. I’ve been seeing MT cross my feed quite a bit lately, and it certainly fills a need.

  20. Thanks for this, I’ve been seeing MT and wondered what that means. I often have to modify a tweet because (a)it’s too long after the RT @soandso is included or (b)I hashtag something the author didn’t. I often wonder how some people expect to get retweeted with lengthy posts; I always try to leave at least a half dozen free characters in my post to encourage easy retweets.

  21. Well, talk about serendipity! I was looking for a definition for MT as I’d seen it a couple of times starting a tweet that also contained RT in the body. I guessed it meant ‘Me Tweet’ and in a way I was probably right. That’s not the happy coincidence however.
    I am a health informatics professional in the UK’s NHS and have recently become websocial with the explicit intention of being equipped to help my organisation better understand and navigate the social web. Imagine my surprise and delight to discover that not only do you know what MT means, but that you also write cogently and in depth about the specific advantages to healthcare of engagement with social media.
    Expect a connection request on LinkedIn shortly, and an endorsement for proving that connections can be made through the web by many unexpected means.

    • Hi Bryn

      Thanks so much for having taken the time to leave a comment, and for your kind words.

      I see you have indeed forwarded a LinkedIn request, which I am just about to accept.

      It is good to be connected with you, and I look forward to future conversation, and perhaps collaboration.

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  25. I have always read it as its more traditional meaning “Mistell” meaning spoke incorrectly or in the wrong channel. Its nice to see that the meaning is basically the same.

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