Twitter Anatomy: RT, MT, HT

You’ve got the Twitter basics down. Terminology like handle, hashtag and retweet are now a part of your vocabulary. But now that you’re spending more time on Twitter, you’re noticing odd abbreviations, like RT, MT, and HT. What the heck are those?

Let’s dive a little deeper into the Anatomy of a Tweet.

RT means “retweet”

We’ll focus on that odd “RT” first. RT means “retweet”. This is when you see something in your Twitter stream that you think your followers might be interested in. Here’s an example:

From @Sisarina:

RT @picoCMS: Just launched the sexiest grocery store site EVAR: http://glensgardenmarket.com/. Congrats @GlensGardenMkt <- check it out!

Ok, let’s talk about this tweet. This is a tweet that Sisarina retweeted from @picoCMS, announcing the launch of one of its websites.

Now, if you were to look at the @picoCMS twitter stream, this tweet is simply: 

Just launched the sexiest grocery store site EVAR: http://glensgardenmarket.com/. Congrats @GlensGardenMkt

The retweet from @Sisarina adds a bit to the end of original tweet. This is the beauty of the RT function: it allows you to add your reasoning behind why you are retweeting something or your insights in addition to the tweet. There’s no rule saying that you have to add anything extra to the RT after the tweet: you can also add it before the original tweet …. or add nothing at all.

But, what if the tweet is too long to add your thoughts? That’s where the lovely “MT” comes in.

Use MT when you want to shorten a retweet

Simply put: MT stands for modified tweet. This is what you use if you want to retweet someone, but alter the tweet in any way.

Here’s an example:

From @Sisarina:

MT @themamateresa: Do you know how to run an effective meeting? 6 Things You Need to Know http://t.co/3RYJmMFOkI <- hold meetings in the pm!

The original tweet from @themamateresa was:

Do you know how to run an effectivemeeting? 6 Things You Need to Know http://t.co/3RYJmMFOkI from @inc

To add its own insight to the tweet, @Sisarina simply retweeted it, removed “from @inc” to shorten it, and added the MT to indicate that some of the content of the original tweet had changed. 

Ok, so if RT is shorthand for retweet and MT means modified tweet, then what the heck is the HT? Think about it this way: you see a tweet that you think it super relevant to your followers, but you want to word the tweet in a completely different way and still give credit to the original source. Your solution: HT

HT stands for “Hat Tip” or “Heard Through” 

You can use HT for a number of things, primarily for reposting something you’ve found on Twitter (but in your own words) or something you’ve found elsewhere on the interwebs. In layman’s terms, it’s how you give credit to another poster or the original source. Another way to do this is through the term “via” (though HT saves you one precious character).

Here’s an example from Chief Inspiration Officer, Melanie Spring (@melaniespring):

Building a company through culture: http://t.co/WgW30yxHvh /HT @glehel <-Culture is why @Sisarina is still growing.

You’ll notice that the HT is used at the end of the tweet (before any insights from the poster) and right before the handle of the original source.

If you remember anything from this post, note these three things:

  1. RT, or retweet, is a simple reposting of a tweet. You can add your own insight to a RT, either before or after the original post. The RT should appear before the handle of the original source.
  2. MT means modified tweet and is used when a RT needs to be shortened for any reason. Again, the MT should appear before the handle of the original source.
  3. HT is commonly referred to as Hat Tip or Heard Through, and is used in an original tweet to indicate the source of information. HT should be used right before the handle of the original source.

And there you have it! With your knowledge of the Twitter basics and the uses of RT, MT, and HT, you are one step closer to Twitter perfection.