Will Twitter Fly Off Into The Blue Skies?
Twitter has again U-turned over its verification policy, restoring the “blue tick” free of charge to celebrity users of the social network. Meanwhile a serious rival is emerging with Bluesky, created by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Bluesky calls itself a ‘decentralised social app’ using a Twitter-like user interface with algorithmic choice, a federated design and community-specific moderation. Bluesky is based on an open source framework built in-house, which allows people outside of the company to see how it is built and what is being developed. Dorsey introduced the Bluesky project in 2019 while he was still at Twitter. At the time, he said Twitter would be funding a “small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers,” charged with building a decentralized standard for social media, with the original goal that Twitter would adopt this standard itself. But that was before Musk bought Twitter. As of late 2022, Bluesky completely separated from Twitter.
Bluesky is still being piloted and remains invite-only, but as more people get on the site, the hype around it is growing. Bluesky now has around 50,000 users, but according to estimates from data.ai, the app has been downloaded more than 375,000 times. So many people are trying to get an invite that they’ve started popping up for sale on eBay (we would advise against making that purchase). Once invited, users create a handle which is then represented as @username.bsky.social as well as a display name that appears more prominently in bold text. If you are so inclined, you can turn a domain name that you own into your username. The app itself functions much like a basic Twitter, where you can click a plus button to create a post of 256 characters, which can also include photos. Posts themselves can be replied to, retweeted, liked and, from a 3-dot menu, reported, shared via the iOS Share Sheet to other apps, or copied as text.
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