Unraveling the Hype
It’s been a journey since Elon Musk took Twitter under his wing and transformed it into X, leaving many to explore new frontiers in the social media landscape. Platforms like Mastodon, Post, Pebble (now defunct), and Spill offered alternatives, but only a few, like Meta’s Threads, matched the explosive growth of Bluesky.
Bluesky’s Meteoric Rise
Bluesky, currently in invite-only beta, has surpassed a million users, with around 8,300 daily installs as of July 2023. Elon Musk’s alterations to X often trigger spikes in Bluesky usage, and the once-elusive invite codes have become more accessible as the user base expands.
Unveiling Bluesky: The Social Frontier
What is Bluesky?
Bluesky, Jack Dorsey’s brainchild, is a decentralized social app developed parallelly with Twitter. Using the open-source AT Protocol, Bluesky boasts transparency in its development. Initially a Twitter project, Bluesky cut ties with Twitter after Musk’s acquisition.
How to Navigate Bluesky
Upon invitation, users create a handle and a bold display name. Similar to Twitter, Bluesky allows 256-character posts with photos. Users can follow, reply, retweet, and like posts, with a Discover feed replacing the What’s Hot section.
Securing Your Spot in Bluesky
Invitations are the gateway. Users receive one invite every two weeks, based on their social graph activity. Bluesky envisions the invite system as part of its open-source tool for community moderation.
Who’s Embracing Bluesky?
By July 2023, Bluesky had hit a million downloads and attracted notable figures like AOC, Neil Gaiman, and Chelsea Manning. Journalists and organizations, including NPR, Taylor Lorenz, and Jake Tapper, have also made Bluesky their home.
Bluesky vs. Twitter
While Bluesky mirrors Twitter in many aspects, it lacks DMs and some advanced tools. Bluesky operates on the decentralized AT Protocol, distinct from Twitter’s centralized approach.
The Bottom Line: Bluesky’s Affordability
Bluesky is free but remains invite-only. The platform aims to sustain itself without ads, introducing paid services and custom domains for users.
Security and Customization
Bluesky prioritizes security, adding email verification in October 2023. Custom feeds, introduced in May, offer users algorithmic flexibility by pinning feeds to personalize timelines.
Platforms and ‘Skeets’
Bluesky is accessible on iOS, Android, and the web. Users colloquially refer to posts as ‘skeets,’ reflecting the blend of ‘tweet’ and ‘sky.’
Bluesky addresses misinformation by flagging misleading links and providing users with warnings to maintain a trustworthy environment.
Controversies and the ‘Hellthread’
Moderation challenges have plagued Bluesky, with controversies over racial slurs and a ‘posting strike.’ The ‘hellthread’ chaos emerged when one thread garnered an overwhelming number of responses.
Bluesky vs. Mastodon
Comparisons with Mastodon reveal Bluesky’s user-friendliness, contrasting with Mastodon’s perceived complexity. Mastodon recently simplified its sign-up process to compete.
Behind the Scenes
Jack Dorsey, though an initial supporter, isn’t actively involved. CEO Jay Graber, formerly with Zcash, leads day-to-day operations.