Last week we wrote about Facebook’s new tagging functionality but as of this afternoon the feature finally went live. While the functionality is no different than initially described, many users are finding that this transforms the overall user experience. There are also many objects on Facebook which still can’t be tagged with applications and pages such as photos. You also can’t include tags within Facebook messages but I’d expect more robust tagging functionality to be added over the coming weeks and months.
So does this new functionality eliminate the need for Twitter? No, but it most definitely helps users to communicate more effectively. Last week Facebook rolled out many “twitter like” features as many in the press described however it really is just a natural evolution of socializing on the web. As users get used to this new form of communicating, the real opportunity is what lies ahead.
Tag Users From Within Applications
Applications have the opportunity to post status updates on behalf of users once they obtain permission. While there is no documented way to tag users within status updates some developers have already figured out a way. If you use the following format, you’ll be able to tag users from within status updates via the Facebook API:
Tagging @[USERID:123456789] in a status update from my app
While this is prime for abuse by developers, once documented, this will provide developers with a huge opportunity for driving new traffic.
Most users haven’t set their status privacy settings to “Everyone” yet, however as users begin to share more information, researchers will have access to a large amount of socially relevant data. This structured data will provide analysts with access to a large amount of information to help research how users are interacting with others and with brands in general.
This means that all of you marketers out there will soon have access to tools which help describe (in detail) how individuals are interacting within brands, applications, and each other.