What is Bluesky Social and could it really replace Twitter?

Twitter users are angry at recent changes brought in by Elon Musk, but could they flock to Bluesky Social instead?

UKRAINE - 2023/04/29: In this photo illustration, Bluesky Social logo of a social network platform is seen on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
User demand for Bluesky has surged in recent weeks. (Getty Images)

Social media users fed up with the constant changes being introduced on Twitter are switching to a new platform, Bluesky.

Fuelled by a flurry of internet buzz and backed by a former Twitter chief executive, Bluesky Social is the talk of tech.

It has come along at a time when Twitter is in transition, as new owner Elon Musk continues with a series of decisions that are alienating users.

Read more: Why is Twitter limiting the number of tweets people can read?

SpaceX, Twitter and electric car maker Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends an event during the Vivatech technology startups and innovation fair at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, on June 16, 2023. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
Twitter owner Elon Musk has alienated many of the site's users in recent months. (AFP via Getty Images)

The latest, following the controversial paid subscription service Twitter Blue, came at the weekend, when Twitter applied a temporary limit to the number of tweets users can read in one day.

As a result, many users are seeking alternatives, and the latest is Bluesky.

What is Bluesky?

The Bluesky project was initially born within Twitter, but is now shaping up to become one of its biggest rivals.

Twitter co-founder and former chief executive Jack Dorsey helped set up Bluesky in 2019 while he was still at Twitter.

Bluesky became its own separate company in 2022 before Musk took over Twitter, and Bluesky Social – its social network – followed this year.

Dorsey sits on the board of Bluesky, but the company's chief executive is Jay Graber, who tweeted in April: "Jack is on our board but Jack does not own us, Twitter does not own us."

FILE - Technology entrepreneur Jack Dorsey leaves after his talk with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, June 7, 2019. A Delaware judge has dismissed a shareholder lawsuit against financial technology company Block Inc. over its 2021 acquisition of majority ownership in Tidal, the music streaming service partly owned by rapper Jay-Z. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sits on the Bluesky board. (AP Photo)

How is Bluesky different to Twitter?

The Bluesky Social app has a similar look to Twitter, but its big difference is in the data.

As a decentralised platform, all user data is stored on independent servers, instead of on ones that are owned by the company.

Graber said users can make their own servers and switch without losing data. He also vowed that users can help choose the algorithms that decide which posts they see.

Instead of tweets, Bluesky users can like or repost "skeets" on their "skyline".

Direct messaging and hashtags are not yet available on Bluesky.

BRAZIL - 2023/05/31: In this photo illustration, the Bluesky logo is displayed on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Bluesky Social is becoming a serious rival to Twitter. (Getty Images)

How do you join Bluesky?

This is the tricky part. Bluesky hasn't officially launched yet and is still in a beta version. An official launch date has not yet been announced.

At the moment, there are two ways to join Bluesky.

First, would-be users can submit their email to be added to a waiting list to join the site, which could take weeks or months.

The only other way to join is to receive an invite code from someone who is already a Bluesky user.

Current users of the platform are given one code per week to share with anyone they choose.

However, the demand for Bluesky has rocketed after Twitter's recent changes.

On Saturday, Bluesky announced that it was putting the addition of new users on hold.

It said: "We will temporarily be pausing Bluesky sign-ups while our team continues to resolve the existing performance issues.

"We'll keep you updated when invite codes will resume functionality. We're excited to welcome more users to our beta soon!"

The Bluesky social media app logo is seen on a mobile device in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on 21 April, 2023. Founder Jack Dorsey of twitter has released the Bluesky application on Android. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Bluesky has a waiting list of more than one million people. (Getty Images)

Who is using Bluesky?

It was reported in April that Bluesky had 35,000 users, and that 1.2 million people were on the waiting list.

One developer has posted that there are now more than 220,000 users.

Among the current celebrity Bluesky users are US politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, model Chrissy Teigen and film directors Christopher McQuarrie, Edgar Wright and Duncan Jones.

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