YouTube introduces handles and now enables @username format tagging on its channel pages, in shorts, and in comments.
In an effort to facilitate producers’ promotion of their channels, YouTube has implemented a number of improvements. Handles, which are identified by the @username format, have been introduced as a new way for creators to communicate with their audiences across YouTube Shorts, channel pages, video descriptions, comments, and more.
YouTube has stated that anyone can obtain their own custom @handle, regardless of their channel’s popularity or subscriber count. For example, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, and many more all make use of “handles” and “@usernames” for user identification.
In the past, however, YouTube had only provided minimal support for the format, such as enabling the @ symbol to be used in video titles and descriptions or in YouTube Live discussions to mention other users. However, the @username feature was not accessible in any other threads or forums. To “tag” another user on YouTube, you must instead respond to their comment.
Nonetheless, YouTube now intends to closely emulate the way the ByteDance-owned video app TikTok invites users to engage in back-and-forth talks through their short videos and in the ensuing discussions and video responses by launching an attack on TikTok’s turf with YouTube Shorts. To do it on YouTube, you need to use @usernames, also known as @handles.
YouTube claims the new handles will be “instantly and consistently recognizable” across the platform as they will appear on channel pages and Shorts. Users will be able to @mention others in various contexts, including comments, community posts, video descriptions, and more, once handles are fully released. These handles won’t be used in place of the channel name, but they will be distinct across YouTube. This will help content creators stand out from the crowd.
Over the next few weeks, creators will be alerted when they can select their handle. If a channel already has a personalized URL, it will be used as the handle by default; however, this can be modified for a brief time after the notification is received.
YouTube also stated in its statement that “the timing of when a creator would gain access to the handles selection process relies on a variety of criteria, including the creator’s overall YouTube profile, subscriber count, and whether the channel is active or inactive.”