Twitter ain’t what it used to be. If you’re tired of seeing your “For you” feed fall apart, and you want to get away from the latest blue check drama, Twitter clones await your membership. One of those clones, however, is actually a bit like Twitter’s cousin: Bluesky, created by co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, had an initial launch on iOS back in February. Now, it’s available for Android, as well.
What is Bluesky Social?
Dorsey actually wanted Bluesky to be a protocol of Twitter proper, but that’s not surprising after opening the app. At first glance, you might confuse Bluesky for Twitter, or at least a Twitter client. There’s a feed to view posts from people you follow, and a tab to explore accounts you don’t. You can like posts, repost them, or comment. It’s all very, well, Twitter.
But, of course, it isn’t. Besides not actually being Twitter, the big difference here is Bluesky is decentralised, akin to Mastodon. Most social media platforms are all based around a single, centralised organisation, which every user is tied to. With Bluesky, you don’t need to be a part of the Bluesky network in order to connect and post with other users, who also may or may not be on your network. It uses an Authenticated Transfer Protocol, in which different servers connect to one another to make one decentralised network.
As The Verge puts it, decentralised networks like Bluesky are sort of like email. No one is beholden to one email organisation to use the service. You might have Gmail while your friend has Yahoo!, but you’re free to message each other as much as you want. The same goes for users across different servers using Bluesky. It’s the way the internet used to be, and, hopefully, it’s where it’s headed back to.
There are some big advantages to this type of social media network over the traditional platforms most of us are used to. Because there’s no centralised network owning the platform, there are more protections around user data and open discussion. It’s much harder to hack or disrupt users on a decentralised network in a meaningful way, since those users are spread out across different servers.
That said, there is a Bluesky host provider you can join. (It’s the default option when signing up.) That might prove to be the easiest option for most new users.
How to join Bluesky
As of this article, Bluesky hasn’t officially launched, and is still in beta testing. However, there’s a growing, active community already on the platform. In order to join, you either need an invite code from a user already on Bluesky, or you need to sign up for the waitlist. Unless you have a friend at Bluesky, you best sign up for the waitlist.
To jump on, head to Bluesky’s official site. Enter your email, click “Join Waitlist,” and then wait. Once you’re in, enjoy your time exploring and sharing in a freer internet.