What is BlueSky? An Intro to the Upcoming Twitter Alternative
Since Elon Musk bought Twitter in October 2022, there've been some major changes to the platform, like paid verification badges, 10,000-character tweets, and account labels (to name a few).
While some users are happy with the changes, others, like Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, don't love the new changes. As a result, many people and brands have left the platform as developers race to come up with a Twitter alternative.
One such alternative is Bluesky. In this article, we'll share everything you need to know about this up-and-coming Twitter dupe.
An Introduction to Bluesky
Bluesky is a decentralized social platform started by Jack Dorsey, the former Twitter CEO. The social media platform offers an interface that's strikingly similar to Twitter. Yet, it stands apart with its algorithmic choice, community-specific moderation, and a united design.
The real charm of Bluesky lies in its foundation: the AT Protocol. This open-source framework was developed in-house, and it allows anyone from outside the company to see what's happening, fostering transparency.
The seeds for Bluesky were sown by Dorsey back in 2019, during his tenure as Twitter CEO. He wanted to fund a small yet potent team of open-source architects, engineers, and designers to build a decentralized standard for social media, with the hopes of bringing it to Twitter later.
However, the winds of change blew, and Elon Musk took over Twitter. As a result, by the end of 2022, Bluesky had cut its umbilical cord from Twitter entirely, and now it's working to become a Twitter replacement soon. While Dorsey is still attached to the project via the company's board, Jay Graber is Bluesky's CEO.
What Does Decentralized Mean? And Why Does It Matter?
In the simplest terms, when something is decentralized, it means that it's not controlled by a single authority or location – so no single person gets to make all the rules for everyone else. Now, how does this apply to social media?
In a traditional social media setup, like Twitter or Facebook, a single company has control over everything, including everything from the rules of the platform to the data you share. They make the decisions about what content gets promoted and what gets removed. In a nutshell, they're the single authority.
In a decentralized social media platform like Bluesky, things work differently. The control is spread amongst the users. There's no single entity that holds all the power. Instead, each user gets a say in the rules and how things operate. As a result, it's more democratic and less subject to the whims of a single organization.
So, why does this matter? Decentralization in social media is important for a few reasons:
- Freedom of Expression: In a decentralized network, there's usually more freedom for people to express themselves without fear of censorship since no single authority decides what's acceptable to post.
- Data Privacy: In traditional social media, the social media company collects and controls your data. In a decentralized setup, you have more control over your own data.
- Resilience to Shutdown: If a central authority decides to shut down a platform, it's gone. But in a decentralized network, because the control is spread out, the network can continue to function even if one part of it is shut down.
- Community Control: Users have a say in the rules and operations of the platform. They can moderate their own communities and make decisions based on the community's needs.
Ultimately, a decentralized social media network is more democratic, gives users more control, and provides more resilience against shutdowns or censorship. It's like each user is the mayor of their own social media experience.
How to Start Using Bluesky
Right now, Bluesky is invite-only. Once you're invited, you're asked to create a handle (much like on Twitter or Instagram) as well as a display name. Early users say that it works a lot like a barebones Twitter.
Currently, users can:
- Create 256-character posts (which can include photos)
- Reply, like, retweet, and report
- Search for and follow other users
- View people you follow's updates in your "Home" timeline
- View a "What's Hot" timeline
Profiles include the standard features: a profile picture, a brief bio, a background picture, and metrics. Like Twitter, you can separate and view your posts by posts and posts & replies.
Currently, users can only invite a new person every two weeks. This slow growth allows Bluesky to monitor growth and server admins to moderate and curate their communities.
There are currently around 70,000 people on the platform. You can add your name to the Bluesky waitlist for a chance to try the app before it becomes available to the masses.
Should You Incorporate Bluesky into Your Small Business's Marketing Strategy?
Obviously, Bluesky is still in its infancy, so it's too early to tell if it will take off or fail to launch like many other social networks have. However, the key to dominating any social network is to be early to the platform.
If you think you might be able to use Bluesky for your business, be sure to add your name to the waitlist and keep your ear on the ground for updates.
Once it's available, don't wait to become active on the platform. Until then, take time to find out which current social media is right for your business, so you can continue to grow in the meantime.