What Is Bluesky? The Twitter Alternative With Promising Networking Technology
Bluesky was a side project of Twitter in 2019 that aimed to create a decentralized social media framework. It became independent from Twitter in 2022 and released the beta version of its app in February 2023, built on the decentralized AT protocol infrastructure. Bluesky’s goal is to create a trustworthy, scalable, and portable platform that can revitalize social media as a trusted public square. Key innovations include algorithm and moderation transparency and the ability to change the moderation and algorithms used on one’s profile feed. Although often called a decentralized Twitter alternative and viewed as a competitor to the tech giant, Bluesky was the brainchild of Twitter, as the company had funded an independent team to work on an open and decentralized social media standard in 2019. Bluesky’s app is modeled closely on Twitter, but its innovation lies in the AT protocol technology that enables the creation of a federation of social networks that can interact with each other. With AT protocol, users can self-host their own servers, giving them control over their data and making the user platform experience resistant to influence from centralized entities. Bluesky’s trifecta of objectives is trust, scale, and portability, with the latter component allowing users to migrate their social network contacts and handles to competing networks with relative ease.
Bluesky’s release as a beta proof of concept has succeeded in having certain functionalities of a centralized social media platform like Twitter, but the underlying AT protocol technology is what could fundamentally change the social media landscape. The AT protocol enables the creation of a decentralized social network protocol that can be used by anyone, and this could lead to the evolution of social media from platforms to protocols. The ability to port over a social media profile to another network without losing key data and social contacts solves one of the major pain points of leaving and joining social networks. Bluesky’s goals guide its development, and the team wants the social media layer to be common infrastructure through their AT protocol framework, just as the internet is public infrastructure available to all. With Bluesky’s innovation and potential to decentralize and revolutionize social media, it could be a gamechanger in the social media landscape.
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