Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky app has been released and looks almost identical to Twitter.
The Bluesky app appeared on Apple’s iPhone App Store in February, and an Android version was released in April. However, most of us still won’t be able to try out the young social network since an invitation is required. Bluesky is currently in a private beta stage.
Those who want to try Bluesky can enter their email address on the Bluesky website, to “try the public beta”, but we have no indication of when anyone will be able to freely register.
Bluesky CEO Jay Graber said 1.2 million people were on the waitlist after Elon Musk took over Twitter, and that figure is likely to have increased since then.
How to get a Bluesky invite
There is some hope for those who wish to try Bluesky. Existing Bluesky users are sent invite codes, allowing anyone to start using the social network.
Some of these are given away on Twitter, the very place those most eager to get into Bluesky flee from. An r/blueskyinvites subreddit has been set up, and there is also an invite thread in the r/BlueskySocial subreddit.
One seller is even trying to download Bluesky invitations on eBay for £155 each. However, we strongly advise against paying for these invitations.
Bluesky’s rollout is rather slow, with the service reaching around 20,000 users in mid-April. But this is in part to generate the hype that comes from scarcity and to make sure the service’s servers don’t fail due to rapidly increasing demand.
What is BlueSky?
The screenshots on Bluesky’s App Store page show a very similar interface to Twitter’s. There are likes, retweet-like “reposts” and comments on the posts. However, the way this social network operates in the background is very different.
Bluesky is a decentralized social app, which means it operates on multiple servers operated by multiple entities, rather than being controlled by a single company. It uses a technology called the AT protocol to store your account data, effectively linking these “decentralized” elements together.
If you’ve tried Mastodon, the most talked about of Twitter alternatives, you’ve already experienced a decentralized social network.
What is the best alternative to Twitter?
At first glance, it might appear that Dorsey is reacting to Musk’s recent handling of Twitter. However, Dorsey announced Bluesky in December 2019, as a way to attempt to address social media issues that existed years ago.
One of the goals was to give the user more control, including over recommended content, while reducing the power of the platform owner.
Bluesky reportedly started with a team of five and was spun off into its own independent company in 2022, with Dorsey on the board. It’s unclear how much he’s involved in Bluesky’s day-to-day at this point.
He described the Bluesky app as a “web browser” that lets you explore the AT protocol network. This is where we run into an issue that has disabled some alternative Twitter Mastodons.
It asks you to join a specific server, making the process less straightforward and more like a geeky online community like Reddit. Right now, it’s unclear how friendly Bluesky will seem to a less technical audience, though the screenshots are at least promising.