Bluesky Social might just be the new Twitter - but how does it work?
Twitter is having a bit of a rocky time lately, with Elon Musk's continued ownership bringing controversies and odd feature changes all the time, so it's no surprise that the field is open to competitors.
One of those gaining traction right now is Bluesky Social, a familiar-looking template from a very well-known face in the tech industry, and we've got all the details you need to know, right here.
What is Bluesky?
Bluesky, called Bluesky Social in full, is a relatively new social media platform that looks and feels a lot like Twitter to use. Right now Bluesky is in beta, with an invite code required to sign up.
Users have a profile that they can use to post their thoughts to a public or private feed, and are able to view and interact with posts from a whole world of other users.
Images and video can both be shared, and users can like, repost and reply to posts just like they would on Twitter, although exactly what the terminology is in that area isn't clear yet.
How does Bluesky work?
Where things get more complicated is when you look into Bluesky works behind the scenes - much like Mastodon, another Twitter competitor, Bluesky is decentralised.
This means that it runs off a whole host of dedicated smaller servers, rather than one massive central server hub run by the company itself.
These many diverse servers, organised around interests or topics or any number of other ideas, are connected by Bluesky's proprietary AT Protocol, which ties everything into a network that you can browse.
On the surface, this makes it a little easier to navigate than Mastodon, which has proved a little difficult for many people to get their heads around.
In practice, though, it's probably fine for now to think of Bluesky as basically another version of Twitter with a complicated set of differences in its technical back-end, as that's what it'll end up being to most people.
Who owns Bluesky?
Part of what got Bluesky a bunch of attention when it was first announced years ago was that it was fronted by a certain Jack Dorsey - ex-Twitter co-founder.
That's a big name to have attached to a Twitter competitor specifically, and Dorsey still retains control of Bluesky, although exactly what his role at the company entails is something that remains a little ambiguous.
How to get a Bluesky invite code
The biggest single thing to know about Bluesky right now is that it's in an invite-only phase, although that doesn't mean it's impossible to join.
You can be invited to Bluesky by anyone already using it - each user gets an allocation of invites they can use to add people to the social networks.
This means that it's growing quite organically, and quite rapidly, but you need someone to tag you in to be able to join.
How to download Bluesky
Although you need an invite to actually make use of them, there are versions of Bluesky that you can download on both iOS and Android to get ready or to sign up.
Is Bluesky different from Twitter?
As the explanations above will have demonstrated, Twitter and Bluesky are different, but also very similar. Despite Dorsey's involvement, there are absolutely no ties between the two, however.
That said, there are undeniable similarities in terms of design and user interface, with both using a vertical feed and having a navigation bar at the bottom, and both letting your repost (Retweet), like and reply to posts (or Tweets).
Will Bluesky replace Twitter?
This is the million-dollar question, but it's very hard at this stage to judge whether any given app will manage to dethrone Twitter in certain communities and for certain uses.
Many apps have popped up and died back down in the last year or so, from Mastodon to Hive, but none have had the clout that Dorsey's name brings to Bluesky, so it's probably fair to guess that it might be one of the most viable options to have appeared so far.