YouTube recently announced the expansion of username handle (or @username) support across its service. Prior to this, the format was only available to a small number of offerings, such as mentioning only channels or creators in video titles, descriptions, or tagging others in live chats.
As most of us are aware by now, this approach has long been a staple in social media, especially on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram and so on. Initially offered with minimal support, YouTube’s expansion for the @username format is a long time coming, as it has pretty much evolved from being a broadcasting service to a more social media-centric platform over the years. Also not forgetting the fact that it is now competing directly with other video-focused services, namely Meta’s Instagram and ByteDance’s TikTok.
With this new update, user handle support can now be utilised in most of the platform’s offerings, allowing users to now tag anyone in YouTube Shorts, comments, descriptions, community posts, and more. The new handle format will eventually be made available to all YouTube users, so you wouldn’t need to be a verified content creator or fulfil any criteria (such as having a minimum subscriber count, etc) in order to claim your own unique @username. That being said, creators will be the first to receive and utilise the update.
In its official blog, YouTube says this updated format is intended to help creators identify their presence in order to interact with their audience, as well as making it easier to direct them to their channels. Once a user establishes their unique username handle, a matching URL in the format of youtube.com/@handle will also be created, which would in turn allow creators to market their channels in other media or elsewhere on the web.
The platform further notes that @username handles won’t replace existing channel names, especially for users who already have an existing personalised URL. Additionally, these will serve as the default handle by the time the update arrives, which also helps to prevent others from claiming it for themselves. Of course, users are also provided with the ability rename their handles to a different one if they so wish.
The updated username handle approach is expected to first roll out to content creators on a gradual basis, starting this week. Unfortunately, YouTube did not provide an estimation of when the updated format will be made available to all users.
(Source: YouTube [official blog])