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Bluesky

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About

Bluesky is a yet-to-be-released internet network project from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey based on a decentralized protocol that is still under construction. Beginning with conversations hosted by Twitter in the winter of 2019, it intends to use Web3 technologies to create a new form of space for online public conversation. The protocol, like those currently underlying the internet, is a way to connect computers to each other. According to the platform's goal, what’s different about the Bluesky protocol is that it hopes to connect servers not through a central hub or company but through a decentralized network spread across many servers.

History

Origins

Bluesky is the brainchild of Jack Dorsey (former Twitter CEO) who originally sketched out the goals of the project in a December 11th, 2019, tweet thread.[11] Dorsey claimed that a decentralized protocol like Bluesky could solve many problems with social media platforms: if content moderation isn’t centralized in one place, then it can be done more effectively and democratically; if algorithms aren’t owned by companies then users and organizations can choose between them and modify them; if a more decentralized network exists then shocking or controversial content might be less incentivized online.

In 2022 discussions with Elon Musk about the then-impending purchase of Twitter, Dorsey made similar points to the Tesla CEO. In court documents showing texts sent and received by Elon Musk around the time of the deal, Dorsey wrote to Musk: [2]

I believe it must be an open source protocol, funded by a foundation of sorts that doesn’t own the protocol, only advances it. A bit like what Signal has done. It can’t have an advertising model. Otherwise you have surface area that governments and advertisers will try to influence and control. If it has a centralized entity behind it, it will be attacked. This isn’t complicated work, it just has to be done right so it’s resilient to what has happened to Twitter.

Twitter hosted group chats among people interested in the idea in early 2020, and over time, the Bluesky organization evolved into a project independent from the social media app.[3] Using a public Github and a social space, developers then started working on a decentralized protocol. In the spring of 2022, they released a draft of the protocol in progress. In October 2022, they then opened up pre-sign-ups for a beta test of the protocol.[4]

Reception

Following Musk’s purchase of Twitter in late October 2022, many users posted about switching over to the new platform because of Twitter’s new ownership. Some, like Twitter user @j_storytelling, posting on October 29th, speculated that Musk had been "played" by Dorsey. Their tweet earned 86 likes in two days (seen below).[5]


TJ New And Improved @j_storytelling So Elon Musk fired some people who got severance packages who are now going to go work for Jack Dorsey at BlueSky Social which will rival Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram which will help to sink Musk's new 44 billion dollar venture. Elon Musk just got played. 12:05 AM Oct 29, 2022 Twitter for Android 23 Retweets 6 Quote Tweets 86 Likes

Criticisms

Bluesky would be a protocol rather than a platform, meaning that it is not simply a new website but a new way for the social internet itself to be structured. Some commentators have argued that Bluesky is an attempt to make something like what Musk calls “X,” an app for everything: one platform where all of a person's life (financially, socially and creatively) can be centralized. One of the reasons given by Musk for the purchase of Twitter was that it could serve as an "accelerant to creating X, the everything app."[6]

The idea could be to move economic, political, and social life onto this decentralized protocol. Some, like former Twitter developer and tech journalist Dave Troy in an October 29th, 2022, Medium post and Twitter threads, have even gone so far as to propose that what Bluesky seeks to do is replace governments with platforms.[7]

April 2023 Virality

In April 2023, multiple news outlets[9][10] reported on the growing wave of Twitter users looking to make the jump from Twitter to Bluesky, with many citing Elon Musk's controversial reign as Twitter CEO as their reason. Around this time, journalists began getting access to the site's invite-only state, generating hype among some that it may overtake Twitter when it opens to the public.

For example, on April 27th, 2023, journalist Ben Collins[11] said the site "looks, works and feels" like Twitter, adding, "When it fully launches, I'd bet it's going to just usurp this site [Twitter]" (shown below, top). Also that day, Twitter user @juniper[12] echoed a similar sentiment, writing, "If there’s going to be a social media that can actually take away users from twitter, I genuinely and unironically believe that bluesky is going to be the one to do it," gaining over 110 retweets and 4,200 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below, bottom).


Ben Collins @oneunderscore___ I'm on Bluesky at bencollins.bsky.social. When it fully launches, I'd bet it's going to just usurp this site. It works and it looks and feels like this one, which is all we ever asked. Comes down to moderation, desktop experience, and reliability, but it feels like the answer. bsky.app Bluesky Social See what's next. :

PRZE pudding person @JUNIPER if there's going to be a social media that can actually take away users from twitter, i genuinely and unironically believe that bluesky is going to be the one to do it 9:03 AM Apr 27, 2023 ... .

Features

While the official Bluesky protocol has not yet been released, a provisional protocol called the AT Protocol will be in beta testing in the spring of 2023. The site will essentially work on a blockchain allowing portable accounts, federated social networking and algorithmic choice.[8]

Search Interest

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