Clara Shih is the Facebook guru - she really understands the Facebook ecosystem and its power for business.
On September 11 Facebook added active tagging to posts, which are activated by the @ character:
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. As you type the name of what you would like to reference, a drop-down menu will appear that allows you to choose from your list of friends and other connections, including groups, events, applications and Pages. You can also tag friends from applications as well.
While @ reminds everyone of Twitter, the first and most obvious way Facebook tagging is not like Twitter is that the "@" symbol is not displayed in the published status update or post after you've added your tags.
I'm calling it "active tagging" as this encapsulates the most significant differences to Twitter. Firstly, on a basic level even the active search which results in the drop-down selection while typing in the @+tag is very different to Twitter as it brings up a whole range of difference classes of objects e.g. groups, events people. And as Clara Shih says:
It is their decision to bring @-referencing not just to people (been there, done that with Twitter) but also to these social objects that makes this announcement so exciting and game-changing.
Secondly friends you tag in your status updates will receive a notification and a Wall post linking them to your post. They also will have the option to remove tags of themselves from your posts.
Facebook's idea is that tagging your status updates and others' posts from the comment area will enable you to share in a more meaningful and engaging way, and connect with even more people.
Clara Shih particularly makes the point that Facebook will be able to add to its explicit semantic web of connections of friends, with an implicit web arising from tagging posts and conversations.
Previously objects such as photos could reference people, but now people can also reference objects from their posts. Given the rich data which Facebook has about us, and our collections of interests and objects, this makes for a powerful many to many social graph, with huge yet unknown potential for Facebook as a platform and a social semantic web.
- read Shih's Facebook Notes post to see her ideas of the possibilities.
Keep in mind, as you read of new features or announcements from Facebook, how they might tie together with status-tagging to develop new social capital opportunities.