Twitter may remove @-replies, hashtags

NEW DELHI: Can't imagine Twitter without @ (at) replies and (#) hashtags? Consider them as integral components of the popular microblogging website? Yes, they are for now, but may be not in the coming future. Twitter may be planning to do away with them. At least this is what Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, recently hinted at.

Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America's mediaXchange conference, Schiller termed at-replies and hashtags as "arcane" and suggested that these components might be moved into the background, as reported by BuzzFeed.

"We are working on moving the scaffolding of twitter into the background," she added.

Presently, Tweeple need to use the '@' (at) symbol along with the user's Twitter handle to reply. Twitter's web interface and apps add the symbol and handle automatically while replying to tweets. The '#' hashtag symbol helps users to track a particular topic.

It appears Twitter is planning to make replying to tweets more seamless and do away with the practice of displaying the @handlename in the reply tweet. The social microblogging service has already started testing an @-free timeline in the alpha version of its Android app. The app does not show @handlename in a reply and instead just connects the two tweets through a blue line.
 Twitter had revamped the user interface of its web, iOS and Android apps in August 2013, adding a vertical blue colour line between Twitter conversations (original tweets and responses). However, it still displays @handlename in the responses.

It is not the first time that Twitter is planning changes in its syntax. To make things simple for new users and streamlining the interface, the social network had made the RT or retweet symbol redundant by introducing the ability to natively retweet with a single button. 

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