It seems that it took a number of years for even avid Twitter users to figure out what “MT” meant in a re-tweeted tweet. At first, you may have thought it was a slip of the fingers for “RT”, until you realized the M on a keyboard isn’t anywhere near the R. Others might have thought it meant something only to the tweeter, as in “Mutinous Treason.” While some may feel the latter better explains some tweets in your busy feed, the tweets usually deemed excellent can sometimes have problems when you want to add your own comment. Once people realized this problem, the “Modified Tweet” finally became a household term.
If you’re like me, you may enjoy attaching your own comment next to a re-tweeted tweet for the sake of adding your own personality to your personal tweet stream. You can essentially brand another tweet with your own witty asides as a form of tweet hybrid. But some of those tweets you’re re-tweeting sometimes go on past the 140-character mark, which requires some quick ingenuity to make room.
What can you do so the tweet still makes sense and gives you room to add a short comment? Much of it has to do with context and how important that tweet really is.
Leaving in Essential Information
Tweets running to a maximum 140 characters may have modifiers in the sentence that could be easily cut out while still providing an understandable sentence. Extra punctuation, ellipses, or even prepositions can usually be removed without ruining context. Just be sure the tweet still reads reasonably well so it makes sense. Even so, you’ll want to indicate “MT” in the tweet to indicate you made changes.
Perhaps this will change the tweet too dramatically and ruin the context. If so, consider dropping any personal comment at the end, especially if it’s a serious topic. Sometimes just re-tweeting a serious tweet in full with a news link can send enough of a statement.
Modifying Less Important Tweets
Everybody who tweets with media links on Twitter may feel their content is too important to be modified heavily. With serious news stories that could benefit everyone, not modifying them should really be standard protocol. Other tweets that are written casually by users or general factoids posted only for entertainment are a different story.
It’s here where you can display your wit by adding little asides at the end. While some add those comments at the beginning, some add them at the end accompanied with a bracket to differentiate between the comment and the original tweet. For such popular Twitter accounts like OMGFacts, you have an opportunity to modify a tweet without ruffling too many feathers and letting your comebacks have some sizzle.
Should There Be a Feature That Shows the Original Tweet in Context?
Perhaps someday, Twitter will invent a feature that shows the original tweet below the modified tweet. That way, it won’t require having to think fast if you’re modifying a tweet in a hurry. A hurried modified tweet without a little thought can turn into a butcher job and lose all context, including making your end comment confusing.
Don’t be afraid to use some abbreviations as a compromise. With our ability to read abbreviations seeming to be more astute thanks to the era of texting, certain words in abbreviation form can easily be understood. However, you also might risk the tweet turning into unintentional comedy when better grammar on Twitter is becoming more expected.