There’s a new social media in town and this one is invite only. Bluesky is an app that was started as an internal project at Twitter in 2019 and later became independent of the company in 2021. Bluesky is backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, and led by CEO Jay Graber.
While check marks disappear from Twitter accounts and Elon Musk shakes things up, some Twitter users have been fleeing to try Bluesky instead. We’ve got all the details creators should know about it. And a few things to look out for.
What is Bluesky?
Bluesky is a new social platform that “Can make social networks work more like email, blogs, or phone numbers — the open systems that power the rest of our online lives.” Think of it as a throwback to the early days of the internet, if you were on the internet back then. The goal of Bluesky is to provide an open-source framework so that users have transparency into the product. Plus, it’s designed to be a decentralized platform where users can move their data easily. And, to make it more appealing to Twitter users, it even looks a little like Twitter.
What can users post on Bluesky?
The answer to this question right now is: not much. Users on the microblogging site can post up to 256 characters per post, or “skeet,” as some people have called them. And they can share non-moving images. And that’s about it!
What creators need to know
All this is great but how does it apply to creators? We’ve got you.
At the end of April, there were 50,000 users on the platform, and it was invite-only. “We plan to grow the invite system at our discretion in a way that preserves our focus on protocol development and creates a network where healthy conversations can happen,” according to the company.
In order to grow the platform organically, they’re also letting current users refer other users. Much like entry to a party, you’ll have to know someone on the inside to get in. To do this, the app is giving users one invite every two weeks to share with a friend. And if those friends end up being trustworthy, that user will get more invites, according to the platform.
Bluesky is decentralized social networking
Decentralized social networks are the latest buzzword among those in the world of social media. Meta is reportedly working on a decentralized Twitter alternative, according to ZDNET. The whole goal is to offer users more control over their experience. With Bluesky, users can use the “AT Protocol” to own their online profiles and move their accounts around the internet. Which is a great idea! Especially as users see their control over their profiles on Twitter slowly slip away under Musk’s leadership.
Users will also have more control over the content they see and consume with decentralized social networking. The customizable algorithms are to thank for that.
The way Bluesky describes the centralized social media issue is:
Every time you create an account on a social platform, it’s like moving to a new city. You make friends and create posts, which is like filling your house with furniture you made. But on centralized social platforms, if you leave, it’s like leaving all your friends behind with no way to contact them, and leaving your house behind without being able to take anything with you. Leaving a centralized site and starting over from scratch is very hard.
The AT Protocol essentially lets people move between cities. Creating a standard format for identity and data is like giving people a passport, cell phone, and property rights.
Bluesky owns the content
We know most people do not read the terms of service when signing up for a new platform. So thankfully, Ashley Gjøvik did read the terms for Bluesky and shared the highlights with everyone else! Ironically, she used Twitter to point out the harsh and broad terms of service for using Bluesky. Noting that in broad terms, Bluesky basically owns everything you post there and your data. While some creators might not mind, it is a good thing to be aware of before signing up.
BlueSky Terms of Service gives Jack a ‘perpetual’ & ‘irrevocable’ license to all your content (posts, name, likeness, pics)
BlueSky can delete your account for any reason, but may refuse to delete it if you ask
You can’t screenshot BlueSky
All disputes = individual arbitration pic.twitter.com/mHxYkuA4EM
— Ashley M. Gjøvik (@ashleygjovik) April 27, 2023
It’s unclear why exactly Bluesky has made their terms so broad. As Mashable reported, it could be to help the platform flourish in these early stages, but it could also potentially hurt the platform. only time will tell.
There will be composable moderation
This means there will be labels for content and accounts to make it easier for users to subscribe to certain kinds of content. A three-fold moderation approach will be used to help with moderation, according to Bluesky. Those three approaches are automated filtering, manual admin actions, and community labeling. “It stacks new approaches to moderation on top of what centralized social sites already do, and exposes the internals of the system for anyone to observe,” according to Bluesky.
Where will Bluesky go from here?
Right now it’s early days so it’s unclear what the future of Bluesky might hold. But if you want to be one of the early users, it’s time to start networking and finding someone to offer up their invite to you.