- Bluesky emerged from Twitter in 2019 as a side project aimed at creating a decentralized social media framework.
- Becoming independent from Twitter in 2022, the beta version of the Bluesky app was released in February 2023.
- While largely akin to Twitter in appearance, theBluesky app is substantially different in technical terms. It is built on decentralized AT protocol infrastructure.
- Bluesky wants to revitalize social media as a trusted public square by focusing on creating a platform that is trustworthy, scalable, and portable.
- Key innovations include algorithm and moderation transparency — and the ability to change the moderation and algorithm(s) used on your personal profile feed.
Bluesky is often called a decentralized Twitter alternative and viewed as a competitor to the tech giant. But Bluesky was also the brainchild — and largely the creation — of Twitter. In December 2019, Twitter announced that they were funding an independent team to work on an open and decentralized social media standard. The founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, actually expressed the desire for Twitter to eventually be a client (user) of the standard that Bluesky was working on.
In August 2021, it was announced that Jay Graber, formerly a Zcash developer, would be helming the Bluesky team and its initiatives going forward. In February 2022, Bluesky became a completely independent organization following the formation of its Public Benefit LLC. In October 2022, the Bluesky app was announced to notable fanfare — with their waitlist receiving approximately 30,000 sign ups in two days. In February 2023, the Bluesky app was released in beta version on the Apple App Store (at time of writing, no Android app version is available).
Available initially for download by invite only, there were approximately 2,000 users by the end of February 2023. It is expected that more app invites will be sent out in subsequent waves as the Bluesky team goes through this beta testing period. The long-term goal is for this to be a publicly available app that can be downloaded by anyone that wants it. While still in beta (a test phase for software, video games, and apps prior to a full release), Bluesky as an app appears to be largely modeled on Twitter itself. While essentially a rival to Twitter and other Twitter alternatives, the initial reaction from some is that it feels too similar, having features like comments, likes, and reposts (like Twitter’s retweets). This includes how these posts, replies, and the feed itself are visually presented to Bluesky users. While there are some differences, they are largely minor (post character limit of 265 instead of 280, for example).