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Does MT Clarify Retweets Or Add To The Confusion?

Following up on our post about retweets implying some form of endorsement, we wanted to take a closer look at an increasingly popular abbreviation that folks use on Twitter: MT or “modified tweet.” Is this handy little abbreviation helping us clarify our retweets or is it just adding to the confusion?
Our popular Advanced Twitter Terminology post included a great definition for MT, excerpted below, as well as a definition for PRT or “partial retweet:”

MT: Modified Tweet
A modified tweet is a tweet that you had to truncate to save space, or change in some way. A modified tweet retains the meaning of the original tweet in full, but the wording has changed.

PRT: Partial Retweet
A partial retweet is similar to a modified tweet, but it means more specifically that there is some idea that you left out of the original tweet, usually in order to save space or add your own two cents.

Then there were NTs or neutral retweets suggested for inclusion in the Twittersphere at one point as well. They were roundly dismissed though, thank goodness – but back to MT.

I’ve been noticing MT attached to tweets more and more often lately, and not only by journalists. I remember the first time I saw one, it made me stop and wonder what it could possibly mean. I assumed it was someone disagreeing with the tweet as I noticed it was shortened, but nothing substantive was changed. After looking “MT” up, I  dismissed it as something I’d never use – but now I’m not so sure.

A quick search for tweets using MT returns a long list of examples. But are these tweets where the poster obviously reworked the tweet and added his or her own opinion to it? If so, this method could completely do away with the “retweets do not imply endorsement” mantra, making it entirely irrelevant and unnecessary as the person’s opinion and endorsement (or lack thereof) would be transparent, right? Nope. MT still appears to be primarily used merely for shortening tweets, removing a word here or there – but still not changing anything substantive. Boo.

So really, what’s the point? I guess it’s polite to do it that way, but doesn’t RT cover all the bases? If I’m resharing someone’s tweet and adding my own spin, that’s expected, isn’t it? It’s MY Twitter stream after all, where I share my thoughts so it’s my responsibility. Does the MT change that in any way? I would imagine it would make endorsement even more implied as I stopped to think about and rework the tweet.

But what do you think? Do we need all of these abbreviations or should a simple RT cover it?

(Confusion image from Shutterstock)

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