Will Twitter Chuck Hashtags and @-Replies?

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In a comment that sent an entire community into a frenzy, Twitter Inc.’s (NYSE:TWTR) head of news, Vivian Schiller, alluded that the site has been seriously considering doing away with @-replies and hashtags, some of the platform’s most recognizable features, according to Mashable. Both hashtags and @-replies have become ubiquitous on other social media sites as well, such as Facebook and Instagram, leaving skeptics to wonder, “Just what will the internet do without its beloved hashtags?”

For the unschooled, @-replies are currently the only way to link another account to a tweet; in other words, the other user won’t receive a notification unless an @-reply is added. Hashtags are a way of denoting search terms or news topics, though often users get a little #hashtaghappy and overuse the symbols. The hashtag is currently the most effective way of linking tweets that address a particular subject area, though keywords are also used.

In a Denver conference, Schiller noted that @-replies and hashtags were becoming “arcane;” Twitter is hoping to hide the symbols while maintaing the functionality that they bring to the site. The move would help to bring “the content of Twitter forward,” whilst “pushing the scaffolding of the language of Twitter to the background,” CEO Dick Costolo added, per Mashable, in a February earnings call.

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