A new social media platform has taken root and surprise, surprise… Jack Dorsey – lately of Twitter fame after he sold the whole thing to Elon Musk – is back. Ever since Musk took over Twitter, users of the platform who struggled to reconcile what the little blue bird stands for under its new owner have looked for an alternative and Dorsey has provided.
*sips tea* This is god tier level trolling.
Bluesky is a Twitter lookalike backed by Dorsey that has rapidly gained traction in the past few months billing itself as an alternative to the chaos of Musk’s Twitter. Right now it’s invite only and people are literally begging for invites especially as there is no rhyme or reason as to how you get off the waiting list and onto the platform. It’s the online version of a German trance club. Look right or don’t come in. AOC, Chrissy Teigen and journalists from the very anti-Twitter New York Times are a few of the names who’ve had the nod.
As a social network, it offers many of the same features that Twitter does. Users can post short text updates, add imagery and reply to and share content but there’s a big difference. Bluesky has been built with a decentralised system at its core that will allow users to build their own apps and communities within it. What this means in practice, is that no one individual can create rules for the entire Bluesky community. Are you listening, Elon?
The platform, which is still in beta mode, is small compared with social media giants such as Twitter and Meta, with about 50,000 users. But, visits to the desktop and mobile app rose to nearly 1.5m globally in April, up from less than 300,000 in March and about 15,000 in February. Mostly recently the term Bluesky began trending on Twitter itself. Again, god tier level trolling.
But like all shiny new things, there are teething problems. There’s been a big influx of people who want to jump ship from Twitter to a viable alternative but there is no verification process in place on Bluesky as yet. Can you guess what that means? Yep, troll accounts are back. So far J.K Rowling and err, Elon musk have appeared on the platform. It’s also missing basic features like video uploads and the ability to DM but for the most part, users seem to love it.
Skeets (a combination of sky and tweet) has been coined as the delivery mechanism for content and Bluesky feels like Twitter used to which is all anyone ever wanted anyway. It’s also a place where there’s zero tolerance for harassment (paging Elon) which is the other thing blue bird users wanted (well apart from an edit button but I’ve given up fighting that particular fight). Basically it seems like Bluesky has paired back to the way social media used to be before Cambridge Analytica and Covid deniers. Remember those halcyon days? Why wouldn’t you want to go back?
Right now there’s no natural palace for brands as the invite-only mechanism means the community is too small to support ad spend. There’s also a chance that Bluesky will try and function without advertising, becoming a platform that is just a community functioning as a community without promoted posts or paid for trends – I imagine that would make it even more popular.
But, realistically will Bluesky replace Twitter? It’s still in its infancy and would need to roll out way faster to have a chance but an alternative to Musk’s conspiracy theorist approach has got to be welcome, right?