Inside The 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.
We’re calling this team @bluesky. Our CTO @ParagA will be running point to find a lead, who will then hire and direct the rest of the team. Please follow or DM @bluesky if you’re interested in learning more or joining! 🌐💬💙
— jack (@jack) December 11, 2019
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.
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.)
You can even buy an invite code for Bluesky on eBay.
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.
You can choose the default Bluesky server (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow these directions to use your own domain (email@example.com). You can change to your own domain later in your account settings.
Next, enter your invite code, email, password, and birthdate.
Finally, choose a user handle. You can change this later in your account settings.
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.
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.
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.
I’m going to try to clarify here. First of all, Jack is 1 of 3 board members of Bluesky, and does not have any personal license to any content.
The “rights to user-generated content” term lets us do stuff like this — use screenshots of user-generated content in the app store. pic.twitter.com/yp4SOgJfBS
— Jay Graber (@arcalinea) April 28, 2023
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.
You can reply to, repost, and like posts by other users. The three dots offer additional options, including translating and sharing with other networks.
Switch to the Users tab to find related accounts to follow.
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 Lists Vs. Twitter Lists
It’s essential to note Bluesky lists are not like Twitter lists.
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.
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.
How To Change Your Bluesky User Handle Or Domain
As mentioned, you can visit your account settings to change your user handle.
You can also update your user handle to use your domain instead of @bsky.social.
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