MT on Twitter: The ever-evolving social medium
Twitter evolves more quickly than other social media because of its users.
Rather than relying on programmers to tweak features, users create their own languages, cultures, and uses for the malleable medium.
Witness the advent of MT to signify a retweet that has been slightly modified.
I first noticed the abbreviation earlier this year, and at the time, I hadn’t quite bought into its usage, partly because it seemed unclear and confusing to many users. Initially, it seemed to duplicate the function of via.
As I see it appear more often, though, it does seem to have a distinctive usage of value.
Via indicates a completely new tweet about information discovered through another user. MT is a modified tweet that has some words eliminated in order to meet the 140-character limitation of Twitter.
Here’s how I’ve been using it in practice: I discovered a piece on Rick Perry through @joeruiz, a sharp Texas journalist I follow on Twitter.
I usually like to offer a little bit of editorial comment on links I repost, but doing so here would broach Twitter’s limit. So I resorted to the MT by eliminating the Texas Monthly reference:
Everything else about the tweet is the same. It’s not quite a retweet since I changed it slightly, but via doesn’t fit, either.
MT seems to be appearing with more frequency these days. Consider this a modification of my previous stance: MT might be one to add to your Twitter vocabulary.
What do you think?