Facebook Launches @ Tagging

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Facebook is going through changes faster than a pre-teen hitting puberty: first, they removed regional networks, then they streamlined the inbox and today they announced the addition of tagging to status updates and posts. Sounds like par for the course; Facebook was one of the first social networks to allow and even encourage tagging. But we’re used to tagging photos and media that clearly show the person we are tagging; status updates are usually quick thoughts, snippets of words and random musings. So how will tags function in this text based content?

With an @ sign, just like on Twitter. Well, with a little bit of a Facebook spin. The ‘book has always been handy with predictive search, and their new tagging system for status updates and posts will rely heavily on predictive typing.

Just Like Twitter…

When you want to tag someone in text, just like on Twitter, you begin with an @ symbol, then start typing their name. Facebook will take over and show you friends whose names match the letters you have typed, as it does in photo tagging or event invites.

Only Different

However, unlike on Twitter, you can only tag people you are currently friends with (or a Group or Page you are associated with). And, unlike Facebook photo tagging, where you can happily waste the day tagging “a tree,” “a squirrel” or your “lame-ass brother’s car,” it would seem you can’t make up a random tag, just like you can’t invite your “lunch” to the next kegger.

With this change, in addition to the closing of regional networks, Facebook has solidified its position as a place for people you know, whereas Twitter is a place for people you would like to get to know.


  • I’m concerned, as I said in my comment over at the other FB post. I’m not a fan of this mimic Twitter attitude. I manage relationships in Facebook through a pretty decent interface that pays attention to social graphs. Twitter doesn’t give that the same attention; it’s value to me is in its representation of a moving conversation that reflects human thought, behavior, and interaction.

    A flip of a switch and FB let’s you tag anyone. It’s actually in their best interest, because it promotes deeper use of their tool, the way we all find new follows on Twitter via mentions. Facebook’s endorsement tool, “suggest a friend”, to me feels like an upsell. That goes away with an open ‘mentions’ functionality in their status stream.

    I feel as if they’re eroding their value to protect their walled garden.

    Why do big companies always feel the need to control the conversation?

    Comment by DShan — September 10, 2009 @ 2:55 pm
  • As an admin to a fan page, do you know if there is a way to tag fans of the page in a status message who are not the admin’s personal friends?

    Comment by Jesse Bouman — September 15, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

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