While status updates have become an increasingly important part of communication on Facebook over the last year, it’s never been possible to “tag” specific friends or Pages in a structured way like “@” mentions work on Twitter. However, that’s changing today. Now, Facebook is starting to roll out a new status tagging feature that will let users tag friends and Pages in status updates and posts in much the same way as they have been able to tag friends using Facebook Photos for a long time.
Here’s how it works: when writing a status update in the publisher, users can tag connections by using the “@” operator, just like on Twitter. However, instead of needing to remember friends’ usernames, Facebook pops up a dropdown menu that allows users to select any friend, Page, group, or event. When a friend, Page, etc, is tagged, that shows up on their wall. When you’re tagged, a notification is sent to you as well, and you can remove tags of yourself in others’ posts.
Here’s how it looks in the publisher:
The viral dynamics of photo tagging have played a very significant role in making Facebook the largest photo sharing site on the web, and “status tagging” should only make Facebook more engaging. Just as we’ve seen on Twitter, easy to use addressable identity is vital for enabling deeper, more engaging kinds of communication.
“People use status updates to tell stories about real world experiences,” Facebook’s Andrew Huang, product manager for the status tagging feature, told us about the new feature. “This is about making the site more engaging.”
Page Administrators Can Track Tags Too
It’s important to note that Facebook is enabling status tagging for all of a user’s Facebook connections – not just friends, but Pages, groups, and events as well. This means Page managers will now have a major new channel for tracking comments and feedback about their brand or business. Up until now, brands have been able to track posts and comments made on their Facebook Page directly by fans, as well as search public comments made by Facebook users through Facebook’s new real time search. Starting today, all @ tags will appear on the wall of the Page as well, even though users never visited the Page. The same applies to event and group administrators as well. That’s a big deal for Page administrators hoping to gain more insight into how they’re being talked about inside Facebook.
Finally, Facebook’s Huang told us today that while they’re waiting to see how this feature plays out before they expand it, Facebook is definitely thinking about how new Platform APIs could enable users to tag in even more ways. We don’t expect to see new status tagging APIs in the next couple months, but developers should start thinking about the ways their applications could integrate with status tagging on Facebook.
For now, Facebook says it’s going to be rolling out the new feature slowly slowly over the next couple weeks, so you may not see it immediately.