Facebook Adds Twitter-Like Tagging

I’ve written recently about Facebook posturing to claim a dominant role in the social media mainstream. As a very Twitter-like Facebook Lite prepares to roll out broadly, now Facebook fires another volley with the introduction of @tagging.

More connectivity equals more connections
Beyond the obvious resemblance to Twitter hashtags, the use of tagging in Facebook looks to provide two very real advantages: 1) it facilitates real-time search (Twitter’s keys to the kingdom) and 2) it enables business and other Fan Page owners an important onramp to more eyes.

“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,” wrote Inside Facebook’s Justin Smith in a blog post. “Starting today, all @ tags will appear on the wall of the Page as well, even though users never visited the Page.”

Certainly, connecting more readily with other users is a plus, but providing a way to grow the connective tissue between users and organizations sets the stage for more corporate/brand involvement, more user engagement and eventually, the commerce that is coming.

Don’t ask for whom the bell tweets
I don’t have any particular axe to grind with predicting Twitter’s demise (or, more likely, absorption). I think it has been an amazing catalyst for everything social. It provides unique and previously-unknown insight into customer behaviors and sentiment for technology marketers and, in the same gesture, accelerates the pace at which marketers have to respond.

Twitter will stand as a pivotal evolution in not just social media marketing, but in how and where we communicate. But without some major bombshell development, it’s soon to become a cog in a larger machine…one that Facebook is poised to operate.

So my advice is to use Twitter for now. Condition yourself to that type of dialogue. The behavior will remain. Only the forum will change.

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