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

Is the grass greener on the other side? We’re not sure, but the sky is definitely bluer. It’s been over a year since Elon Musk bought Twitternowleading people to move to alternative platforms. Mastodon, Job, Pebble (who already has closed operations) And Spread were presented as potential replacementsBut few apart from Meta discussions have reached the growth rate achieved by Bluesky.

Bluesky remains invite-only in its beta version, but as more people visit the site, the hype around it increases – although as we know from apps like Clubhouse, the hype might not last forever. In the meantime, Bluesky has now reached more … than two million users, against a million they reported in September. The app saw approximately 8,300 first installations per day in July 2023, on average, although they have not released substantial updates on download data since. And when Musk makes unfavorable changes to X, Bluesky often sees record usage. Although many people desperately need an invite code when launching the site (even to the point of buy them on eBay), they have become much more accessible as more people join the app.

Here we answer the most common questions about Bluesky Social:

What is Bluesky?

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

Bluesky uses an open source framework built in-house, the AT protocolmeaning that people outside the company have transparency into how it is built and what is being developed.

Dorsey introduced Project Bluesky in 2019 while he was still CEO of Twitter. At the time, he said Twitter would fund a “small, independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers” tasked with creating a decentralized standard for social media, with the initial goal of Twitter adopting itself this standard. . But that was before Elon Musk bought the platform, so since the end of 2022, Bluesky has been completely divorced from Twitter. Dorsey even Used Bluesky to express dismay at Musk’s leadership.

How to use Bluesky?

Once invited, users create a login which is then represented by as well as a display name which appears more prominently in bold text. If you want, you can turn a domain name you own into your username – so, for example, TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington is known on Bluesky as

The app itself works a bit like a simple Twitter, where you can click a plus button to create a 256-character post, which can also include photos. It is possible to reply to the posts themselves, retweet them, like them and, from a three-dot menu, report them, share them via the iOS share sheet with other applications or copy them as text.

You can find and follow other people, then view their updates in your “Home” timeline. Previously, the Bluesky app featured popular posts in a “What’s Hot” feed. This feed has since been replaced by an algorithmic feed and personalized “Discovery” flow featuring more than just trending content.

There’s also a “Discover” tab at the bottom center of the app navigation, which offers more “who to follow” suggestions and a steady stream of recently released Bluesky updates.

Screenshot of Bluesky menu tab

Image credits: Natalie Christman

How can I get invited to Bluesky?

New users receive an invite code every two weeks while on the Bluesky app. The company monitors the social graph, giving users who invite trustworthy participants more invite codes to share.

Long term, Blue Sky says he sees the invite code system as part of the open source tool he’s building to help server administrators organize and moderate their communities.

Who is on Bluesky?

By early July 2023, when Instagram feeds spear, Bluesky has exceeded one million downloads on iOS and Android. In September 2023, the app was officially released one million users. Notable figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Neil Gaiman, and Chelsea Manning have migrated to Bluesky. It also houses organizations and journalists like X exile NPR, Taylor Lorenz and Jake Tapper.

Does Bluesky work like Twitter?

In many ways, yes. However, Bluesky does not yet have DM or some advanced tools like adding accounts to lists. Additionally, Twitter does not use a decentralized protocol like ActivityPub or HAS.

Bluesky was initially launched as a project organized by Jack Dorsey in 2019 while he was CEO of Twitter. But the social app has been an independent company since its inception in 2021.

Is Bluesky free?

Yes, but it is currently invite-only access.

How does Bluesky make money?

Bluesky’s goal is to find another way to maintain its network outside of advertising with paid services, so that it can remain free for end users. The 5 of July, Bluesky announced additional seed funding and a paid service that provides custom domains to end users who wish to have a unique domain as their service identifier.

Is Bluesky decentralized?

Yes. The Bluesky team is developing the decentralized AT protocol, which Bluesky was built on. In its beta phase, users can only join the network, but Bluesky plans to be federated, meaning that infinitely many individually managed communities will be able to exist within the open source network. So, if a developer outside of Bluesky created their own new social app using the AT protocol, Bluesky users would be able to access the new app and transfer their existing followers, ID, and data. In November, Bluesky announced its intention to launch its federation “early next year.”

“You will always have the freedom to choose (and leave) instead of being subject to the whims of private companies or black box algorithms. And wherever you go, your friends and relations will be there too. » an article from the Bluesky blog explained.

Is Bluesky secure?

In October 2023, Bluesky email verification added part of a larger effort to improve security and account authentication on the network. This addition is an important step forward in making Bluesky more competitive with larger networks like X, which have more robust security controls.

Is Bluesky customizable?

Yes. In May, Bluesky released custom algorithms, or what it calls “custom feeds.” Custom feeds allow users to subscribe to several different algorithms that present different types of posts a user might want to see. You can pin custom feeds that will appear at the top of your timeline as different tabs to choose from. The feeds you pin or save can be found in the “My Feeds” menu in the app sidebar.

Is Bluesky on iOS and Android?

Yes. Bluesky deployed on Android users on April 20 and initially launched to iOS users in late February. Users can access Bluesky on the web here. Bluesky also recently launched a third-party app called GraySky which is expected to launch on iOS and Android.

Are Bluesky posts really called “skeets”?

Technically, there’s no name for the posts, but people have adopted the name “skeets,” a portmanteau of “tweet” and “sky.” Users still widely refer to posts as “skeets,” despite protests from Bluesky CEO Jay Graber and others who don’t find sperm slang amusing.

How does Bluesky combat misinformation?

After a October update, the app will now warn users of misleading links by reporting them. If links shared in users’ posts don’t match their text, the app will offer a “potentially misleading” warning to the user to warn them that the link may take them somewhere they don’t want to go.

Image credits: Blue Sky on Github

Has Bluesky had any controversies?

Bluesky has been plagued with moderation issues since its first launch. The app has been accused of failing to protect its marginalized users and failing to moderate racist content. Following controversy over the app allowing racist slurs in accounts, frustrated users launched a “post strike”, in which they refused to engage with the platform until it established safeguards for reporting slurs and other offensive terms in usernames.

What was the “thread of hell”?

Basically, too many people replied to a thread, everyone in the thread’s notifications was cut off, the post became unmutable, and the thread broke up. in a bunch of different subthreads…It was chaos. You had to be there.

What is the difference between Bluesky and Mastodon?

Although Bluesky’s architecture is similar to Mastodon, many users found Bluesky more intuitive, while Mastodon can seem inaccessible: choosing which instance to join seems an impossible task on Mastodon, and long-time users are very defensive about their established publishing standards. , which can make it intimidating to join the conversation. To stay competitive, Mastodon recently simplified its registration flow, making the default server for new users.

Who owns Bluesky?

Although Jack Dorsey funded Bluesky and sits on the company’s board of directors, he is not involved in day-to-day development. Bluesky’s CEO is Jay Graber, who previously worked as a software engineer for the cryptocurrency Zcash and then founded an event planning site called Event.

If you have other FAQs about Bluesky that are not covered here, leave us a comment below.

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