Twitter's @Replies Look Likely to be Phased Out

By Gerald Lynch on at

Not entirely, of course -- Twitter users will still need a method to communicate with each other. But Twitter's Vivian Schiller, Head of News, has hinted that hashtags and @replies will be pushed to the background of the service in order to make it more intuitive for newcomers.

Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America’s mediaXchange conference in Denver, Schiller called hashtags and @replies "arcane", likening them to "scaffolding" that could be removed as the platform continues to mature. While it's not clear how this would work, it may require a system similar to Facebook's person-post tagging, in which an "@" sign in front of a friend's name sees their formal name brought into association with a post, with the "@" automatically removed.

Buzzfeed has received further evidence to suggest that Twitter is working on systems to push the symbols of hashtags and replies to the background. It was sent the below screenshot of the Android alpha test group iteration of the Twitter app. In it, you can clearly see how an @reply recipient's name is removed in the conversation view, compared to the iOS 7 standard version of the Twitter app. Of course, as a test version of the app, there's no guarantee the new-look replies will see a general release, but Twitter is certainly toying with it at the very least. [Buzzfeed]