Here’s something I’ve wondered about from time to time on my Twitter travels.
I should probably leave your tweets alone – Word Woman or not, when people see that something is a retweet, they should safely assume that the original message is intact and unaltered.
But here’s where things get tricky:
- I see a typo or other error. Since I edit for a living, I do my best to make sure my own content is free from errors. When I retweet, it feels like I’m responsible for that content. Even though a retweet is really a quote of someone else’s words, that’s not always obvious. Especially because everyone handles retweets differently (I tend to follow Scott Stratten‘s advice and add my commentary to the beginning of a tweet).
- The message is too long. I actually LOVE the challenge of trying to pare down someone’s tweet while keeping their voice and message intact. It’s a lot like what I do when I edit web content for my clients. By the way, you can make your tweets easier to retweet with this calculator. But does editing for length give me free reign to correct errors as well?
- The person has used shorthand (e.g., “ur” instead of “you are”). For my own posts, I tend to agree with Grammar Girl, who says that if she can’t say it properly in 140 characters, she needs to consider whether she should post it at all. (She even published a Twitter Style Guide called Strunk and Twite.) Similar to #1, I see everything I post on Twitter as an extension of my brand and a reflection of the quality of my work.
But that’s about MY stuff, not yours. So while I’ve been viewing my unsolicited Twitter editing as a way to take a stand for the quality of your content, it IS unsolicited and I should probably cut it out.
What do you think? Please leave your comments below, or talk to me on Twitter.
Update – November 18, 2012: I’ve since learned that the proper Twitter etiquette when changing the content of a tweet is to use MT instead of RT. MT stands for “modified tweet.”