May 15 2023
You might not have heard of Bluesky yet, but you most definitely will have soon.
Bluesky is the new Twitter-alternative that is backed by ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Currently invite-only, Bluesky is still in its beta era, but has around 50,000 users, but over 375,000 app downloads. Some people are so desperate to get on the platform, invites have been popping up on eBay, with some going for $999.
But what’s fuelling consumer interest in this new platform?
Bluesky is a decentralised social platform that’s been developed in parallel with Twitter, and backed by Jack Dorsey. The platform has a user interface and experience very similar to Twitter, minus a few features.
The platform operates with an open-source framework that’s built in-house, meaning those outside the company have transparency into how the platform is built and what new developments are coming.
Bluesky is essentially a bare-bones Twitter. You can create a post (users have dubbed this “Skeeting” of 256 characters (and include photos). These can then be replied to, retweeted, liked, reported, shared via iOS to other apps, or copied as text.
Users can search for and follow other users, and view their posts in the Home timeline. Within the “What’s Hot” timeline, users are shown engaging posts selected by an algorithm.
Bluesky profiles constrain the typical features—a profile picture, background, bio, and follower and following counts. The profiles have two viewing sections—posts, and posts and replies. At present, users are unable to DM others on the platform.
Since Elon took over Twitter, there have been multiple platforms to come and threaten Twitter’s crown—namely Mastodon—but none have really lasted the test of time. They briefly became popular, and then slipped back into the background, mainly due to complicated user experiences.
It’s definitely too early to say whether Bluesky will continue to grow and become a real threat to Twitter. Due to the users on the platform currently (journalists, politicians, and die-hard social celebs), the platform hasn’t really been able to establish its personality, per se.
Most new platforms nowadays need something to draw people in—seeing the opinions of others isn’t necessarily enough.
The most appealing part of the platform currently is the ability to have a social interaction that feels like a conversation. With new Twitter developments that only boost verified accounts, the average user doesn’t receive the potential reach they once would have. This has resulted in many users feeling like they’re speaking to an empty void.
A potential risk Bluesky faces is the same as Clubhouse. Clubhouse—if you remember—was the invite-only audio platform that took off in 2021. Its popularity was insane for the first few months. But it became inundated with people creating too-similar content, and it lost its spark. Bluesky will need to make sure it has something to make itself stand out from other platforms and Twitter to keep people interested.
Bluesky is an under-developed Twitter, so it still allows users to genuinely connect with others. However, Bluesky is likely to run into the same issues Twitter has over the years, but hopefully these can be smoothed out whilst it’s still in its beta-era.
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