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Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media Platform


Are you interested in the new social media platform aiming to compete with Twitter?

Bluesky is a decentralized social network led by CEO Jay Graber, with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on its board of directors.

What Is Bluesky?

In December 2019, Dorsey announced through a series of tweets that Twitter would fund a small independent team of up to five people to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media.

The aim was for Twitter to become a client of this standard one day.

Dorsey highlighted several factors prompting this move:

  • The challenges posed by centralized control include difficulties in global policy enforcement to address abuse and misinformation.
  • The shifting value of social media from content hosting and removal to recommendation algorithms. These algorithms, which currently are typically proprietary, direct users’ attention. Dorsey hopes Bluesky would allow for alternatives to be built.
  • Existing incentives in social media often draw attention to controversial and outrageous content instead of promoting informative and healthy conversations.
  • Recent technological advances, like blockchain, have made decentralized solutions more viable. These solutions could lead to open and durable hosting, governance, and monetization.

Bluesky strives to make social networks function similarly to email, blogs, or phone numbers as open systems that facilitate online interactions.

Bluesky developers created the AT Protocol, which is nearing completion.  The AT Protocol aims to make modern social media and online public conversations more akin to the early Internet era when anyone could create a blog or use RSS to follow multiple blogs.

The Bluesky app demonstrates the features of this protocol.

Bluesky hopes this will lead to new advancements in social media, enabling researchers and communities to solve issues currently faced by social networks, as tweeted by Dorsey.

Social Media Problems Bluesky Hopes To Solve

Most traditional social networks are closed platforms controlled by a central authority that dictates user and developer permissions.

If a user decides to leave a traditional social network, they must begin anew, losing their connections and content. For developers, creating a new app requires overcoming network effects and rebuilding the social graph from the beginning.

Additionally, they risk being shut down abruptly if they try to build using these companies’ APIs.

Similarly, content creators may lose their audience if the platform changes its rules.

The AT Protocol is designed to change this scenario, offering a more open, democratic, and innovative environment for users, developers, and content creators.

How To Get A Bluesky Invite Code

There are several ways to get an invitation to Bluesky.

You can sign up for the waitlist and wait for an invitation to join from Bluesky.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media Platform
Screenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

You can ask your friends on other social networks if they have an invite.

You can search Bluesky invite code on Twitter. Check the latest results and reply quickly to get an invite. (This is the method that worked for me.)

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Twitter, May 2023

You can even buy an invite code for Bluesky on eBay.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from eBay, May 2023

How To Create Your Bluesky Account

Once you have your invitation code, you can create your account on the website or the Bluesky app from the App Store or Google Play.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

You can choose the default Bluesky server ([email protected]) or follow these directions to use your own domain ([email protected]). You can change to your own domain later in your account settings.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

Next, enter your invite code, email, password, and birthdate.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

Finally, choose a user handle. You can change this later in your account settings.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

How To Edit Your Bluesky Profile

Once you’ve completed your account setup, you will want to visit your profile and edit it before connecting with others.

You can add a cover photo, profile photo, display name, and 256-character description.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

While there is no specific field for links to your website or other social profiles, you can place a link in the description.

How To Post An Update On Bluesky

Bluesky allows you to post 300-character updates with text, up to four images, and links.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

Note that all profiles and posts are public, and the user content you share is subject to Bluesky’s Terms of Service.

Within the Terms of Service, Bluesky notes that when you share any content (such as text, images, or videos) on a platform or service provided by Bluesky, you give Bluesky and its related companies the right to use and share that content.

With these terms, Bluesky can use, copy, modify, distribute, and display your content in various ways, including promoting Bluesky and its services through social media channels.

They can do this without paying you. On the upside, they won’t use your content in any sponsored content without your permission.

How To Build Your Bluesky Network

To find people to connect with, use the search to find posts and users with specific keywords.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

You can reply to, repost, and like posts by other users. The three dots offer additional options, including translating and sharing with other networks.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

Switch to the Users tab to find related accounts to follow.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

When you visit another user’s profile, you can follow them or use the three dots to find more options, including one to add the user to a list.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

Bluesky Lists Vs. Twitter Lists

It’s essential to note Bluesky lists are not like Twitter lists.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

On Twitter, you add users to lists when you want to follow them more closely.

On Bluesky, you add users to lists to mute their activity.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

When you create a Bluesky mute list, it will be visible on your profile. You can, however, follow other users’ mute lists to ignore the same group of users privately.

In addition to public mute lists, you can access more ways to moderate the content you see on Bluesky in the Moderation section.

Here, you can update your content filtering settings, mute an account, or block an account.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

How To Change Your Bluesky User Handle Or Domain

As mentioned, you can visit your account settings to change your user handle.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

You can also update your user handle to use your domain instead of @bsky.social.

Bluesky Social: Inside The New Decentralized Social Media PlatformScreenshot from Bluesky, May 2023

The Next Step In Decentralized Social Media

Bluesky may present an approach to decentralized social media that could mitigate many issues plaguing traditional social platforms today.

Bluesky appears dedicated to ushering in a new digital communication era with the AT Protocol’s continued development.

With the issues it aims to solve and the open standard it seeks to establish, Bluesky could be the blueprint for the future of social media. It remains to be seen how well Bluesky will perform once it comes out of beta.


Featured image: Tada Images/Shutterstock





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