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Twitter May Phase Out @ Replies And Hashtags In the Future

"We are working on moving the scaffolding of Twitter into the background."

[Image: Flickr user houroumono]

For all the good Twitter does for the world, it still has one big problem: its steep initial learning curve. The company is already trying to make itself more friendly to new users, most notably with a new profile page that looks a bit more like Facebook.

Some of Twitter's more confusing Internet jargon—hashtags, @ replies, and manual retweets—no doubt add to the initial confusion. But in the future, the service may do away some of its more perplexing and insular language. As first hinted at by BuzzFeed's Charlie Warzel, a future version of Twitter might dispense with unnecessary characters altogether.

Hashtags and @ replies are "arcane," Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, said this week during a presentation at the Newspaper Association of America's mediaXchange conference in Denver. "We are working on moving the scaffolding of Twitter into the background." Here's an example of what that might look like—the second image is reportedly from an Android Alpha test group app:

Twitter already does this to an extent. The dedicated retweet button shares a tweet without the need to manually slap the letters "RT" in front of what someone else said. In theory, hiding—not eliminating—@ replies and hashtags (which Facebook already does, sort of) would make Twitter more user-friendly and appealing to the uninitiated. Recent statistics suggest that while Twitter has about a billion registered accounts, just 250 million of those count as real users.

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