Facebook announced that it would be incorporating a "new" feature today: @tagging, or @tags.
Facebook users will soon have the option to tag friends while updating their status messages by using the @ symbol along with their friend's username. It will be a different method than that used by both Twitter and FriendFeed (a recent Facebook purchase). Twitter and FriendFeed use "@" plus username to initiate or respond to a conversation.
Thursday's Facebook Blog announced the new feature and defined how the @tag feature will work on Facebook:
...when you are writing a status update and want to add a friend's name to something you are posting, just include the "@" symbol beforehand... a drop-down menu will appear that allows you to choose from your list of friends and other connections... The "@" symbol will not be displayed in the published status update or post after you've added your tags.
Tagging actually became popular through Facebook when users were provided a method to label, or tag, their friends in pictures (according to Facebook, there are over 10 billion photos on the site as of February 2009, not only crushing other social media sites but photo-sharing sites as well).
According to Andrew Huang, Facebook's Product Manager, the changes were made to further engage users. The status tags, coming over the next several weeks, are "all about engagement." He says Facebook wants to let users reference their real-world connections in their status posts.
Not to be a Debby Downer, but if Bob and Sally are going to meet for coffee, does that really need to be a status update?
Decision-time is weeks off as this service will not be available until later.