YouTube has a new way for users to find and engage with content creators directly by tagging their handles. Announced via the video-sharing platform’s News and Events page, it allows channels to use unique identifiers with the @username format.
These handles will appear, in comments, video descriptions, and on channel pages, among other places, allowing users to quickly tag others.
“It’ll soon be simpler and faster to mention each other in comments, community posts, video descriptions and more,” YouTube said via the announcement. “For example, creators can be shouted out in a mention in comments or tagged in the title of a recent collab, helping them increase visibility and reach with new audiences.”
Handles will be rolled out over the next month and creators will be notified when they can choose their handle. If a channel already has a personalized URL, that will become the handle by default, though this can be changed for a short period after the notification is received.
“The timing of when a creator will get access to the handles selection process depends on a number of factors, including overall YouTube presence, subscriber count, and whether the channel is active or inactive,” YouTube said in the announcement.
Handles Joins Channel Names As Unique Identifier
In early 2022, YouTube began allowing content creators to change both the name and the URL of their channels. These offered branding opportunities to help channels identify and distinguish themselves.
However, unlike channel names, each handle will be unique, allowing creators to further distinguish their distinct brand. This is similar to the handles and usernames commonly used on other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Prior to this update, YouTube had only offered limited support for the use of the format. Users could use it in YouTube Live chats to mention others, or creators could use the @ format to mention channels and video titles, but could only tag another user by replying to their comments.
@Username Format Seeks To Compete With TikTok
With more than one billion users worldwide, the short-form video platform TikTok has become a major player in the world of social media. As such, other social media platforms have been seeking ways to compete with it Facebook by launching Reels and YouTube by expanding into Shorts.
One of the features TikTok offers is the ability for users to engage in conversations through posts and the resulting discussions and results. By adding @username handles to both channel pages and Shorts, YouTube is hoping to generate similar usage.
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