Can you imagine a Twitter without hashtags and at-replies? You might want to get used to the idea because it could soon become reality. Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, recently suggested the two Twitter mainstays could soon go the way of the Dodo.
During a talk given at the Newspaper Association of America’s mediaXchange conference in Denver, Schiller called at-replies and hashtags “arcane,” hinting that they might soon be removed from the service, BuzzFeed reports. Hours later a significant change was spotted in its Android alpha testing app: at-replies displayed without Twitter handles appearing in the tweets. Instead the replies connected to the original tweet though a conversation line, as seen in BuzzFeed’s screenshot below:
— Vivian Schiller (@vivian) March 19, 2014
Make Twitter Friendlier to New Users
One thing that makes Twitter stand out from other social networks is its steep learning curve. Unlike Facebook users, Twitter users have to learn a new vocabulary to understand functions like “replies” and “retweets” on the network. Twitter’s already worked to make it easier to learn how to use its service by phasing out manual retweets; now, instead of typing “RT” into the compose box and pasting another user’s message, users merely click the retweet button to quote another person. It’s possible that like the symbols that used to accompany retweets, the signage behind at-replies could be eliminated too to make it easier for new users to take to the network.
While this could help expand the network’s user base to even more corners of the world, I’m sure some Twitter users would feel lost or even betrayed if Twitter removed at-replies. After all, current users spent so much time learning to use the service that they take pride in having mastered the lingo. To make that accomplishment obsolete could be quite a blow to some.
How would you feel if Twitter removed at-replies and hashtags?
via The Next Web