We had already told you, just last week, about Blueskythe new social network created by Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter. Access to the platform is currently reserved for very few users, given that the social network is available by invitation only and exclusively for iOS users. However, thanks also to 9to5Mac, today we know a little more about how it works.
Before becoming a totally independent platform, Bluesky was originally an internal project within Twitter. We are obviously talking about 2019, well before Elon Musk took over from Jack Dorsey at the helm of the blue social network. Despite this, Bluesky has never been definitively launched, at least until today, as a platform absolutely unrelated to the company that now belongs to Musk.
How Bluesky works: a social network halfway between Mastodon and Twitter
Bluesky is based on the protocol AT (originally called ADX, or Authenticated Transfer Protocol). AT is similar to ActivityPubthe decentralized protocol underpinning Mastodon. It is no coincidence that it shares the concept of decentralization with the latter platform. This means that users are not all part of the same “world”, as happens on Twitter. Individual users can decide to take part only in specific channels, just like on Mastodon. A similar system, albeit much more restricted and with different purposes, is the one at the basis of Discord. Also, as a decentralized social network, developers don’t have full control over what users and other developers can do on the platform.
9to5Mac explains that, once you have created your profile, you will automatically be entered on the official server of the social network. From an aesthetic point of view the app vaguely (but not too vaguely) resembles Twitter. There are three different tabs: feed (home), search and notifications. Just like Twitter there’s the dropdown menu on the side, which gives you access to your profile and settings.
Even the interactions are very similar to those of Twitter, with the ability to like, comment and re-share. The contents of the feed are displayed in chronological order.
The main differences with Twitter
Unlike Elon Musk’s social network, however, Bluesky only shows posts from followed users, no “recommended”, “for you” and the like. Bluesky also does not include advertisements (at least for now). One of the developers promised that users will always have the option to “never have ads”. However, that doesn’t mean that Bluesky won’t add ads in the future. In fact, it is more likely that the platform will decide to implement an ad-free subscription plan.
Although the app is only in beta, 9to5Mac has already listed some of the social’s critical issues. Among the weaknesses listed are theabsence of GIFs, hashtags and interactive features (for example missing in surveys). 9to5Mac writes, “the interface looks pretty rudimentary, dark mode doesn’t work well, and notifications seem broken. Also, Bluesky does not have web or app versions for iPad, Mac, Android and Windows”.
In fact, we remind you that Bluesky is currently only available for iPhone and, as mentioned, it can only be accessed by invitation from an already registered user. The development team has promised that the platform will support GIFs in the future, while hashtag uncertainty remains.
The million dollar question is therefore: Will Bluesky be able to become a viable alternative to Twitter? Impossible to give answers now, given that the social network is still in Beta while Twitter is in a phase of deep crisis. We’ll only find out by tweeting.