The hashtag was a symbol governed and mastered by Twitter (News - Alert) since its inception in the summer of 2006, and it has become a ubiquitous symbol of the constant chatter of the internet. And now, it seems like our favorite little blue bird is coming up with a scheme to rid the internet of something that has stood as an annoying little addendum at the end of every 140-ish-character blurb. Despite the overflowing joy of some, others may be asking, “But, why?”
Don't get me wrong. It's probably for the better if we just get rid of the hashtag and “@” replies altogether. At least that's what Vivian Schiller, Twitter's head of news, feels as she describes these concepts as “arcane.” She says that Twitter is putting together a solution to the problem that will hide these symbols while still driving worldwide conversations more viral than avian flu and maintaining functionality “as is.” Schiller put this more succinctly, “We are working on moving the scaffolding of Twitter into the background.”
Twitter's chief executive, Dick Costolo (News - Alert), seemed to echo this sentiment during a recent earnings call, saying that “by bringing the content of Twitter forward and pushing the scaffolding of the language of Twitter to the background, we can increase high-quality interactions and make it more likely that new or casual users will find this service as indispensable as our existing core users do. And we took initial steps in that direction with the introduction of media forward timelines and in-line social actions in October, and we're already starting to see early signs that those initiatives are working well.”
This hashtag-otomy creates a decent first step on the road to making Twitter more available for users who “don't get it.” In the vast chasm of the internet, there are some users who fancy knowing how Twitter works, but get discouraged by all the “#gibberish” that appears in each message.
Getting rid of these symbols and taking a “cleaner” approach may attract new users to the Kingdom of Twitter, but one question still remains: What will veteran tweeters think of this?
Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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