In the months following Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, thousands have left the platform. Some have been kicked off Twitter by Musk’s at-times erratic policies. But most have simply left it of their own accord because, let’s face it, Twitter isn’t what it used to be. This has created an opportunity for other social media platforms to usurp Twitter’s glory. Sites like Mastodon, Substack Notes, and T2 offer some prime examples of this. But one such site, Bluesky, might just have the best potential to succeed. The Bluesky alternative to Twitter takes users back to the early days of social media. And this makes the Bluesky social media option highly attractive to many.
The Bluesky social media option isn’t available to everyone. In fact, the platform is an invite-only site that may continue to be that way indefinitely. This imposes a type of community moderated activity where existing users are the ones allowed to invite others. In addition, the Bluesky alternative to Twitter is a decentralized platform with a completely transparent, open-source framework. These features along with a simplistic interactive process is why many are begging for an invite. And it’s also why some are suggesting Bluesky may eventually give Twitter a run for its audience.
“People have been saying for years that it would be great if users could own their data and their relationships; if we could have transparent algorithms and algorithmic choice; if there could be more accountability and user control over how social platforms are moderated. We’ve now designed and built a system that we think achieves the goals stated above.” – Jay Graber, Bluesky CEO
The Origins of Bluesky
In contrast to some other recently launched social media sites, the Bluesky social media option began in 2019. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wanted to develop an open-source, decentralized platform. As such, he put together a small team of engineers and technology architects and called the project Bluesky. The product was to be the future of Twitter and an idealized community-focused structure. And though didn’t occur prior to Musk’s purchase of Twitter, Bluesky did become its own entity. Today, Jack Dorsey remains on the board of Bluesky, but it is led by CEO Jay Graber. And instead of being the Bluesky foundation of Twitter, it is potential Bluesky alternative to Twitter.
The key aspect of Bluesky that makes it unique is its open-source framework. Called the AT Protocol, this framework has been built in-house and is completely decentralized. That means that users instead of the company own their information and relations on the site. In addition, anyone is able to use the open-source framework if they so choose. This approach permits a transparency that isn’t present on other social media sites except for Mastodon. The Bluesky social media option has been slow to evolve as a result since the focus is on structure not user numbers. With only 50,000 users currently, it’s hard to envision this as a Bluesky alternative to Twitter. But this contrasts with the number of downloads to date of Bluesy, which exceeds 375,000. Clearly, the demand to check out this site is much more than the segment actually invited to do so.
“There’s just been this huge influx of people who are fed up with the way Twitter is going and haven’t found a viable alternative, and it seems like this is what they think could be the next Twitter.” – Jordan Uhl, Progressive Activist
For those who have yet to secure that coveted invite to try the Bluesky social media option, here are some Bluesky basics. The overall appearance is extremely simplistic in nature. A single “plus” sign can be used to make new posts, often referred to as “skeets.” These allow 256 characters, like Twitter, as well as photos. Users can also reply, re-skeet, or like posts, and they can also report posts, share them and copy them. In addition, there is a search function for others and options to follow them. And there are “What’s Hot” and “Discover” features that let users see trends and personal recommendations respectively. In essence, the Bluesky alternative to Twitter sound much like the Twitter days of old.
Of course, as evolved as Twitter is, there are certainly features not available on the Bluesky social media option. For one, there is no capability of direct messaging, and there’s no video capacity. Users are also not yet able to block others, and Bluesky does not have a verification process to date. That doesn’t mean these key features aren’t coming, especially since Bluesky is still in its beta-phase. This is why the site is an invite-only site, with users earning invite codes. Codes are only provided after a certain duration of use on the platform and based on monitored social interaction. Interestingly, however, this invite-use feature may be a lasting one. As a Bluesky alternative to Twitter, this strategy lets the Bluesky community moderate users and use. Therefore, it may persist as a part of the long-term strategy for the company.
“We want to enable people to have a safe, enjoyable experience, so we’re regulating growth and building moderation tooling as a first-order feature and not as an afterthought.” – Jay Graber, CEO
Looking Into the Future
To suggest the Bluesky alternative to Twitter is viable currently isn’t realistic. The number of users and stage of development simply imply it cannot compete on the same scale. But that doesn’t mean the Bluesky social media option might not evolve in this direction over time. Its foundation has a vast array of features that longstanding Twitter users enjoy. And it plans on adding others that most want, like verification abilities. It’s evident as a result that social media is in a process of evolution, and it’s too early to tell what might happen. But given the talent behind Bluesky, it’s worth keeping an eye on.