The vanity URL is an important aspect of most social media websites. Being able to choose the URL for your social profile (i.e.Twitter.com/BenParr) not only makes it easy to share with others, but helps you claim a little piece of social media space as your own.
While Twitter and MySpace provide vanity URLs for all profiles, Facebook does not. Facebook’s been experimenting with the vanity URL for select Fan Pages (i.e. Facebook.com/Mashable), but just moments ago, Facebook announced that this Saturday, June 13th, vanity URLs will be available to all Facebook profiles and Fan Pages.
In a blog post, Facebook announced the availability of the vanity URL system and outlined the process in which users could claim their Facebook turf. To claim a vanity URL (and thus a username), you will need to visit Facebook.com/username. On this page, you will be offered instructions on how to choose a URL or create your own. These new vanity URLs can only include numbers, letters, and periods – no hypens or underscores. You cannot change your URL once selected.
There will be an inevitable gold rush for names on June 13th, and thus there will be many disappointments, complaints, and issues to sort out once the system goes live. Nonetheless, this should be a positive step towards making Facebook profiles a more shareable and personal experience.
Update: As a number of commenters note, one requirement on vanity URLs, specifically for Fan Pages, is that they must have at least 1,000 fans and have been created before 5/31/09. User profiles created today after 3PM EDT will also not be immediately eligible. Facebook explains here.