Today, the world of social media is abuzz with the newest app on the block: Bluesky. The invite-only app developed by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is making waves with its clever blend of algorithmic choice, federated design, and community-specific moderation.
Already, the platform has garnered the attention of over one million active users, representing a mix of celebrities, government reps, major organizations, and everyday people. As a result, the competition to join the platform has become intense, with invite codes popping up on eBay for sale. It's no wonder then, that many are eager to learn more about the app and its capabilities.
Bluesky offers a variety of features including a 256-character post limit, like and retweet functions, the ability to follow and search other profiles, DM support, and a "What's Hot" timeline that surfaces popular posts. It also has “custom feeds” which allow users to create personal algorithms and display different updates.
For those interested in TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington, he's @etherington.com.bsky.social on the platform.
The platform remains free, despite seed round funding and a small rollout of paid services for custom domains. Bluesky hopes to find alternate means to sustain the network outside of advertising.
The platform boasts a decentralized architecture. It uses open-source tools such as ActivityPub and AT Protocol, meaning that it’s free of any singular central party or censoring power and that endless independently-run communities can exist within the network. Additionally, according to Bluesky’s official site, multiple developers outside of the Bluesky team have contributed to the app.
The real test for Bluesky now comes in growing and protecting its base of users - however, history shows us that hype and platforms don't always correlate, and users may move on to the next big thing when it arrives. Of course, this may also depend on the content Bluesky is able to provide and the new features it develops, both of which will make or break the platform.
While there is no guarantee regarding how long Bluesky will remain a leader in the social media realm, the initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and the platform is making all the right moves to keep it in the hands and interests of users. It will be exciting to see how the app and its users progress in the coming weeks and months.
I’m on the sky blue but I loathe the invite system. I dislike the clique-ishness of all the new platforms. I’m not interested in talking only to “good” people or early adapters. Twitter slowly sinks and with it, I’m guessing, an age of actually social social media.
— THE UNDERTOW, by Jeff Sharlet (@JeffSharlet) July 24, 2023