Handles, usually indicated by an @ sign in front of a name or nickname, are useful for people who want to create an identity, indicate their opinions, or make a joke — and many social networks, such as Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook, have adopted it. Now, finally, YouTube is as well — and not just for its established creators.
Until recently, the only people who had YouTube handles — individual URLs that allow people to find your videos — were those who had at least 100 subscribers. The rest of us were using URLs that went something like youtube.com/user/your.handle. Now, YouTube is rolling out handles to all its users — @ names that will be used to identify you in channel pages, Shorts, and other YouTube areas.
YouTube is sending out notifications via email or, if you’re already a creator, via YouTube Studio; at that point, you will then be able to choose your handle. If you’ve already created a personalized URL for your channel, YouTube will automatically assign that as your default handle; but if you’re tired of it, you will be given the option to change it.
I haven’t created many YouTube videos — last I looked, I had two, neither of which is worth mentioning — but I received my invitation yesterday. So here is how the relatively simple process for choosing a handle works.
Apparently, the new handles are simply reserved right now — they will actually go into use later this year. At that point, you will be able to access your videos by going to, say, email@example.com. However, your old youtube.com/user URL will still work. And if you decide you’re not happy with your choice, you can go back to https://www.youtube.com/handle, where the formerly Choose handle button will now read Change handle.