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What is Bluesky? Everything to know about the app trying to replace Twitter

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Is the grass greener on the opposite facet? We’re undecided, however the sky is most definitely bluer. It’s been greater than a yr since Elon Musk bought Twitter, now X, main individuals to arrange store on various platforms. Mastodon, Submit, Pebble (which has already shuttered operations) and Spill have been offered as potential replacements, however few except for Meta’s Threads have achieved the velocity of development Bluesky has reached.

Bluesky stays invite-only in its beta, however as extra individuals get on the location, the hype round it’s rising — although as we all know from apps like Clubhouse, the hype won’t final eternally. Within the meantime, Bluesky now has now reached greater than two million customers, up from the a million they reported in September. The app noticed about 8,300 first-time installs per day in July 2023, on common, although they haven’t launched substantial updates on obtain knowledge since. And when Musk makes lower than favorable modifications to X, Bluesky typically sees report utilization. Although many individuals had been determined for an invitation code in the course of the web site’s launch (even to the purpose of shopping for them on eBay) they’ve develop into rather more accessible as extra individuals be part of the app.

Right here we reply the most typical questions on Bluesky social:

What’s Bluesky?

Bluesky is a decentralized social app conceptualized by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and developed in parallel with Twitter. The social community has a Twitter-like person interface with algorithmic alternative, a federated design and community-specific moderation.

Bluesky is utilizing an open supply framework constructed in-house, the AT Protocol, that means individuals outdoors of the corporate have transparency into how it’s constructed and what’s being developed.

Dorsey launched the Bluesky venture again in 2019 whereas he was nonetheless Twitter CEO. On the time, he mentioned Twitter could be funding a “small impartial group of as much as 5 open supply architects, engineers, and designers,” charged with constructing a decentralized normal for social media, with the unique objective that Twitter would undertake this normal itself. However that was earlier than Elon Musk purchased the platform, in order of late 2022, Bluesky is totally divorced from Twitter. Dorsey has even used Bluesky to specific his dismay with Musk’s management.

How do you employ Bluesky?

As soon as invited, customers create a deal with which is then represented as @username.bsky.social in addition to a show title that seems extra outstanding in daring textual content. For those who’re so inclined, you possibly can flip a website title that you simply personal into your username — so, for instance, TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington is thought on Bluesky as @etherington.com.

The app itself features very like a bare-bones Twitter, the place you possibly can click on a plus button to create a publish of 256 characters, which may additionally embrace pictures. Posts themselves may be replied to, retweeted, preferred and, from a three-dot menu, reported, shared through the iOS Share Sheet to different apps, or copied as textual content.

You possibly can seek for and comply with different people, then view their updates in your “Dwelling” timeline. Beforehand, the Bluesky app would function widespread posts in a “What’s Scorching” feed. That feed has since been changed with an algorithmic and customized “Uncover” feed that includes extra than simply trending content material. 

There may be additionally a “Uncover” tab within the backside middle of the app’s navigation, which gives extra “who to comply with” solutions and a operating feed of just lately posted Bluesky updates.

Screenshot of Bluesky menu tab

Picture Credit: Natalie Christman

How do I get invited to Bluesky?

New customers obtain one invite code each two weeks that they’re on the Bluesky app. The corporate screens the social graph, giving customers which might be inviting reliable members extra invite codes to share.

Lengthy-term, Bluesky says it views the invite code system as a chunk of the open supply software it’s constructing to assist server admins to curate and average their communities.

Who’s on Bluesky?

By the start of July 2023, when Instagram’s Threads launched, Bluesky topped one million downloads throughout iOS and Android. In September 2023, the app formally hit one million customers. Notable figures like Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Neil Gaiman and Chelsea Manning have migrated to Bluesky. It’s additionally house to organizations and journalists like X exile NPR, Taylor Lorenz and Jake Tapper. 

Does Bluesky work identical to Twitter?

In some ways, sure. Nevertheless, Bluesky doesn’t but have DMs or some superior instruments like including accounts to lists. Moreover, Twitter doesn’t use a decentralized protocol like ActivityPub or AT.

Bluesky was initially kicked off as a venture convened by Jack Dorsey in 2019 when he was CEO of Twitter. However the social app has been an impartial firm since its inception in 2021.

Is Bluesky free?

Sure, however it’s at present invite-only entry.

How does Bluesky make cash?

Bluesky’s objective is to seek out one other means to maintain its community outdoors of promoting with paid companies, so it will probably stay free to finish customers. On July 5, Bluesky introduced further seed spherical funding and a paid service that gives customized domains for finish customers who need to have a singular area as their deal with on the service.

Is Bluesky decentralized?

Sure. Bluesky’s group is creating the decentralized AT Protocol, which Bluesky was constructed atop. In its beta part, customers can solely be part of the bsky.social community, however Bluesky plans to be federated, that means that countless individually operated communities can exist throughout the open supply community. So, if a developer outdoors of Bluesky constructed their very own new social app utilizing the AT Protocol, Bluesky customers might bounce over to the brand new app and port over their current followers, deal with and knowledge. In November, Bluesky introduced their intention to launch its federation “early subsequent yr.”

“You’ll at all times have the liberty to decide on (and to exit) as an alternative of being held to the whims of personal corporations or black field algorithms. And wherever you go, your folks and relationships will probably be there too,” a Bluesky blog post explained.

Is Bluesky safe?

In October 2023, Bluesky added e mail verification as half of a bigger effort to enhance account safety and authentication on the community. The addition is a crucial step ahead by way of making Bluesky extra aggressive with bigger networks like X, which have extra sturdy safety controls.

Is Bluesky customizable?

Sure. In Could Bluesky launched customized algorithms, or what it calls “customized feeds.” Customized feeds permit customers to subscribe to a number of completely different algorithms that showcase completely different sorts of posts a person could need to see. You possibly can pin customized feeds that can present up on the high of your timeline as completely different tabs to select from. The feeds you pin, or save, is situated below “My Feeds” menu within the app’s sidebar.

Is Bluesky on iOS and Android?

Sure. Bluesky rolled out to Android customers on April 20 and was initially launched to iOS customers in late February. Customers can entry Bluesky on the net here. Bluesky additionally just lately launched a third-party app referred to as GraySky that’s set to launch on iOS and Android.

Are Bluesky posts actually referred to as ‘skeets?’

There may be technically no title for posts, however web customers have adopted the title “skeets,” a portmanteau of “tweet” and “sky.” Customers nonetheless broadly seek advice from posts as “skeets,” regardless of protests from Bluesky CEO Jay Graber and others who don’t discover the slang for semen amusing.

How does Bluesky sort out misinformation?

After an October replace, the app will now warn customers of deceptive hyperlinks by flagging them. If hyperlinks shared in customers’ posts don’t match their textual content, the app will supply a “probably deceptive” warning to the person to alert them that the hyperlink could also be directing them someplace they don’t need to go.

Picture Credit: Bluesky on Github

Has Bluesky had any controversies?

Bluesky has been embattled with moderation points since its first  launch. The app has been accused of failing to guard its marginalized customers and failing to average racist content material. Following an argument in regards to the app permitting racial slurs in account handles, annoyed customers initiated a “posting strike,” the place they refused to interact with the platform till it established guardrails to flag slurs and different offensive phrases in usernames.

What was the ‘hellthread’?

Principally, too many individuals responded to 1 thread, all of the individuals within the thread’s notifications broke, the publish grew to become unattainable to mute and the thread break up off into a bunch of different sub-threads… It was chaos. You needed to be there.

What’s the distinction between Bluesky and Mastodon?

Although Bluesky’s structure is just like Mastodon’s, many customers have discovered Bluesky to be extra intuitive, whereas Mastodon can come off as inaccessible: Selecting what occasion to hitch seems like an unattainable job on Mastodon, and longtime customers are very defensive about their established posting norms, which may make becoming a member of the dialog intimidating. To stay aggressive, Mastodon just lately simplified its sign-up stream, making mastodon.social the default server for brand spanking new customers.

Who owns Bluesky?

Although Jack Dorsey funded Bluesky and sits on the corporate’s board, he isn’t concerned in day-to-day improvement. The CEO of Bluesky is Jay Graber, who beforehand labored as a software program engineer for the cryptocurrency Zcash, then based an event-planning web site referred to as Happening.

When you’ve got extra FAQs about Bluesky not coated right here, depart us a remark beneath. 



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