Bluesky is a lot of fun.
The platform is Twitter, but it’s decentralized. Bluesky, backed by Jack Dorsey, is just one of the many services that mimic how Twitter currently looks. Bluesky is the service that I’m most excited about after spending some time with it since receiving my beta invitation this week.
Bluesky, like Mastodon is a federated network. This means, at the most basic level of its operation, that users are able to participate via different providers, rather than a central, large one. It’s easiest to compare it to email. If you use Gmail, then you can send a message to someone on Apple’s iCloud and receive a reply.
Bluesky allows you to choose from different hosting providers. Bluesky was the default system when I first joined the app. There’s an option for me to join another provider, but I’m not sure what the options are or how to set them. It could be a user error, or just ignorance. From there, I set my username, which reads more like a domain — jaypeters.bsky.social — and I’ll talk about that a bit more later.
It was becoming a bit of a scene here
As I began my Bluesky journey, I came across a post from Jay Graber, the CEO of Bluesky. Soon after I started my Bluesky adventure, I came across a post by Jay Graber CEO of Bluesky that gave me a good idea of what to expect.
Graber replied, “densely connected subgraph of twitter power users who just joined, meek 5k people who gave us their email and filled out a form” Graber replied by adding “densely-connected subgraph of Twitter power users who have just joined, 5k meek people who filled out an email form and gave us their email address”.
The “What’s Hot” section was a mash-up of internet pleasure.
- Graber was quoted by someone as saying that he apologized for “scenery” and encouraged new users to join in conversations.
- A person wrote, “The goat” and attached a picture showing two goats.
- Some people posted photos that said “this is where I post from.” While some were serious (a picture of a cozy home and a tiny room), others weren’t, such as a picture of an alligator.
I joined the platform and within a few minutes, someone had followed me. A few minutes later, several other users also followed me. They all follow over 20,000 users, so it’s likely that they just follow each new account.
Bluesky remained positive throughout the week. Instead of angry posts about Max’s change, I found that the people who follow me were most interested in maintaining Bluesky’s positive culture. Graber explained why Bluesky isn’t yet live “against Jack’s wishes” while the team develops moderation tools. People posted pictures of their book shelves on Friday. It was fun to scroll.
Bluesky’s challenge will be to maintain its positive environment. That is exactly what its federated system, the AT Protocol, was designed to achieve. Bluesky has stated that the protocol will focus on decentralized social networks, algorithmic choices, and portable account. It means I could theoretically, someday, be able hang out on a domain not used by everyone else, select an algorithm to serve mellower messages, and easily move my account to another app if I wanted to. It’s important to note that Twitter’s Elon Musk expressed interest in letting select your own Twitter algorithm. We’ll have to wait and see if this actually happens.
Bluesky’s moderating tool could be crucial to the future of its platform. The organization would like to allow users to apply custom labels and filters, and even to rely on third parties who can do this work for them. This could help users tailor their social feed to what they want. Graber , in a blog, wrote: “We think this piece could be unbundled and opened up to third party innovation. It can also be configured with user agency.” Anyone should be able create moderation labels or subscribe to those created by third parties.
The domain name system of the network also serves as a convenient verification service. The current setup could mean that one day, for example, I might be able to have @jay.peters.theverge.com to show that I’m a working journalist. Or I could link a domain that I own with my Bluesky account in order to prove I am who I claim to be. This system could be a solution to many verification and moderation issues that other platforms have faced .
Bluesky is currently reminiscent of a simpler internet time
Bluesky makes me feel like the internet was simpler in its earlier days. Bluesky is a social network based on feeds with at least 20,000 members. There’s lots of conversation and activity, but I’ve not seen any toxicity. It’s a social network where people just hang out and chat with each other.
It’s still too early to tell if Bluesky, the AT protocol and other things like Mastodon or ActivityPub will be as popular. For now, what about the AT protocol? Bluesky is making me feel good.