YouTube makes it easy for creators to direct viewers to their channels. Today, the company announced “handles,” a new way for creators to identify their channel using the @username format to interact with their viewers through short YouTube videos, channel pages, video descriptions, comments, and more. These handles will be available to everyone on YouTube — you don’t have to be a creator of a certain size or subscriber count to claim your own unique @handle, YouTube says.
Captions and @usernames are common on social media, including sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, and others. However, YouTube only offered limited support for this format—allowing creators to mention channels in video titles and descriptions with the @ symbol, or to mention other users in YouTube live chats, for example. But the @username option was not available in other areas and discussions. Instead, you’ll need to reply to another YouTuber’s comment in order to tag them.
But with YouTube expanding into TikTok territory with YouTube Shorts, the company now wants to more closely emulate the way the ByteDance-owned video app encourages users to engage in back-and-forth discussions through its short videos and in the resulting discussions and videos. the responses that come. This requires the use of @usernames – or @handles as YouTube calls them – to work.
YouTube says the new handles will appear on both channel pages and short videos, making them “instantly and consistently recognizable” across the platform. Once handles are fully launched, users will be able to @mention others in comments, community posts, video descriptions and more. While these descriptions don’t replace the channel name itself, they will be unique on YouTube, allowing creators to create a distinct presence on the platform.
Support for handles will be rolled out starting at the end of next week. To protect creators from having their channel name hijacked by someone else in what is sure to be one of the biggest username grabs on the internet, YouTube notes that channels that already have a personalized URL will see that URL become their default by the driver unless they choose to change it. .
The company also said the timing of the driver rollout was designed to ensure established creators get the feature first, as YouTube plans to use factors — such as a creator’s overall presence on YouTube, number of subscribers, and whether a channel is active or inactive — in determining , when to offer the creator the possibility to set up his own controller.
Additionally, when a handle is created, YouTube creates a corresponding URL in the format youtube.com/@handle, allowing the creator to sell their handles elsewhere on the web or in other media. And if the channel already had a personalized URL that it was using for a similar purpose, it won’t need to update its links—that URL will instead automatically redirect to the new handle-based URL.
Everyone on YouTube will be able to get a handle on it at some point. YouTube says creators should expect an announcement to come within the next month.
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