What is BlueSky, Twitter Co-founder’s New Decentralized Social Network?

Updated: May 12, 2023
what is bluesky

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Known for being the stage of controversies (who has never cursed a lot in 140 characters?) in recent times, Twitter has become their target. The unpopular changes promoted by Elon Musk at the helm of the company are leading many users to abandon the blue bird – or they are at least planning to do so.

According to a 2022 study, the prediction is that about 32 million users will leave Twitter by 2024. And where will all these people go? BlueSky is one of the alternatives.  

Appointed by many as the new Horseman of the Apocalypse of Twitter – just as it happened with Mastodon and Substack Notes – BlueSky shares many characteristics of the famous microblog (one of them is Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder), but with some differences that promise to change the way we use social networks.

How does BlueSky work?

Whoever enters BlueSky – which is only possible with an invitation from another user or through a waiting list – will find an interface practically identical to Twitter. There, it is also possible to post, repost, like, reply to posts and follow other profiles.

But the beta version, which is already available for iOS and can also be accessed via the web, still has its limitations: the user cannot send direct messages and the platform does not support videos or GIFs with audios, in addition to having a much slower loading time when the feed updates.

Despite all the aesthetic similarity and usability, BlueSky does not intend to be just another one in the bread line of social networks. What Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter and creator of the new network, wants to make a “decentralized Twitter” a possibility, giving the user total freedom.

My feed, my rules

BlueSky’s great idea is to enable more autonomy for the user, not only knowing how the platform works – since the app is open source –, but also enabling (through an API) you to choose your own algorithm and decide what type of content you want to consume, when and how you wish to do so.

According to the company, the problem with current networks is not the existence of algorithms, but how this is used by the network to direct the user in a slightly (if at all) transparent way. In the words of BlueSky itself: “the ability to customize your feed will give the user back control of their most valuable resource: their attention.”

All networks in one place

Imagine you are a digital influencer with thousands of followers. One day, an unexpected change happens to the platform you use – like losing your verification badge, for example 👀. With this bucket of cold water, the desire is to abandon the social network for good, right?

Today, doing that means losing your entire audience and having to start practically from scratch all over again. Now, imagine if you could simply move your entire follower base elsewhere. That’s what BlueSky promises with the Authenticated Transfer Protocol (or AT Protocol, in short).

For laymen like me, the explanation given by Michael del Castillo, editor of Forbes magazine, is quite didactic: the functioning of social networks would be like email, you can have an address with gmail, and I with yahoo, and that doesn’t stop us from exchanging messages.

In other words, the AT Protocol is a technology that promises to securely and reliably integrate and transmit data and information between different platforms. That’s right: your posts and followers from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. in one place: the one you prefer.

The “new twitter” label can cause a sense of déjà vu. After all, we’ve seen platforms go from hype to oblivion in a matter of weeks. But what draws attention in the case of BlueSky, in addition to Dorsey’s promises, are the numbers. Even before being officially launched, the app already has more than 1 million people on the waiting list to create an account.

It’s still too early to hammer out BlueSky’s success or failure, but there’s no denying that the app promises, at the very least, to generate curiosity as to what awaits us in the following chapters of social networking.

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