YouTube is making it easier for creators to direct viewers to their channels. The company announced “handles” yesterday, a new way for creators to identify their channel with an @username format in order to interact with their viewers across YouTube Shorts, channel pages, in video descriptions, in comments and more.
These handles will be made available to everyone on YouTube — you don’t need to be a creator of a certain size or subscriber count to claim your own unique @handle, YouTube says.
According to TechCrunch, handles and @usernames are common across social media, including on websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram and others. But YouTube had only offered limited support for the format — allowing creators to mention channels in video titles and descriptions with the @ symbol, or mention other users in YouTube Live chats, for example. But the @username option was not available in other areas and discussions. Instead, you’d have to reply to another YouTube user’s comment in order to tag them.
With YouTube’s expansion into TikTok’s territory with YouTube Shorts, however, the company now wants to more closely mimic the way the ByteDance-owned video app encourages users to engage in back-and-forth discussions through their short videos and in the resulting discussions and video responses that come about. To work, that requires the use of @usernames — or @handles as YouTube calls them.