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Hey Twitter, hiding usernames won't help you

I just want @ handles back in my replies.

Once Twitter announced that links, pictures and usernames would no longer count towards a tweet's 140-characters, it also started testing changes to how @ reply messages look. This week my account was included in that test, and as a longtime user, I don't think this change is a good one. As you can see from the screenshots, it puts more emphasis on accounts "real" names. that would be fine, except I've spent ~8 years getting used to the usernames of people I follow and commonly tweet to. Now, I can recognize some of those names faster than the person's "real" one, because this is Twitter, not Facebook.

Of course, Twitter would love to have Facebook's real name ties (and its ever growing user base), and maybe it thinks that phasing out the hacky @reply convention is a way to siphon people away from that other social network. Whatever the reason behind the move is, I don't like it.

I know who @nicole is, but who is Lunaticole Lee?

One of my biggest issues is due to Twitter hiding the names of additional people you're replying to behind an "and others" link that leads to a checkbox menu. When you could see the usernames, it was easy to pick and choose who to reply to without making that extra click. Additionally, since people often change their "name" on Twitter (at least, more frequently than they change their handle), what displays may not even be something I can recognize. I'm not the only one with complaints about the new look, and hopefully, it will get tweaked before it rolls out to everyone -- Vine didn't die for us to lose @replies this way.