Twitter Dumping @’s And #’s? No, But They Suck At Communicating What They’re Up To


dick costolo twitter

A rumor (and a bit of a forced one, if you ask us) floating around the social sphere this week suggests that Twitter might be dumping @-replies and hashtags from their platform after ambiguous comments made by Vivian Schiller, the network’s head of news.

During a Monday speech at the Newspaper Association of America mediaXchange 2014 event in Denver, Schiller allegedly called @-replies and hashtags “arcane,” leading some to believe that Twitter was taking steps to eliminate these features altogether.

Schiller did some damage control on her own Twitter account, but the results were largely ambiguous:

Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff opined that comments made by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo during the company’s February earnings call indicate some moving-and-shaking on the issue, but again, the comments are pretty vague.

“We don’t think we need to change anything about the characteristics of our platform, we simply need to make Twitter a better Twitter,” Costolo said.

A big concern at Twitter corporate is new-user engagement, and some of Costolo’s comments during the call hint that @-replies and hashtags are confusing for first-timers.

“We have massive global awareness of Twitter, and we need to bridge that gap between awareness of Twitter and deep engagement on the platform. So it is absolutely the case that it is very much about making it easier for people who first come to the platform to get it more quickly […] It’s not just get it in the first weeks and months on Twitter, it’s get it in the first moments, the first day on Twitter. So that is absolutely, absolutely a focus area for us,” he said.

Does that mean that new users are definitely confused and/or turned off by @-replies and hashtags? We don’t know, and we don’t know if they even think so, but dumping the two features that are used to search topics and connect users doesn’t seem very intuitive.

What’s certain is that Twitter is testing (and has been for the last 12 months) so it’s possible that @-replies and hashtags will see some reform, but it’s unlikely they’ll be removed altogether. A popular notion around the SND water-cooler is that Twitter could remove @-replies from the 140-character count and give each tweet an additional “To:” line, which would sort of turn tweets into mini-emails and free up some characters for hashtags and communication.

What do you think? Would you continue to use Twitter without @-replies and hashtags, or would you like to see them reformed to free up more of your precious 140 characters? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below.

[Image: jdlasica]


Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.

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