Bluesky just gave you a great reason to finally quit Twitter

The fledgling social network beats Threads by adding direct messaging to its app

Bluesky app screenshot showing butterfly logo
(Image credit: Bluesky)
Quick summary

Bluesky, the social network, has added direct messaging to its app and website. You can block messages from strangers or allow anyone to contact you.

Since Elon Musk took over Twitter there's been no shortage of supposed Twitter killers, but so far the renamed remains very much un-dead. And a big part of that is because its rivals have lacked key features, such as the ability to message people privately as well as publicly. So the arrival of direct messaging on Bluesky could be a very big deal.

Bluesky is the most old-Twitter of the current Twitter rivals, and in recent months it's been improving dramatically. Its support for user labelling, which enables people to flag bad actors, spammers and other troublesome users for others to mute or block, has made a big difference to the feel of the place and with each app update the service gets a little bit better. But for me, and I'm sure for many other people, the lack of DMs has been a pain. 

Why Bluesky DMs do matter

The arrival of DMs to Bluesky give it an edge over Threads, which still lacks the feature: at the moment if you want to privately message someone on that service you need to hope they have an Instagram presence, message them there and hope your message doesn't end up lost in Instagram's rather odd inboxes. And the way it's been implemented has been sensible: by default DMs can only be sent to people who follow you, which should keep spam and other unwanted messages to a minimum.

Sending DMs works just like you'd expect. There's a new chat-bubble icon at the bottom of the app, and then it's just a matter of searching for the user, writing your message and hitting send. You can choose whether or not to have notification sounds for new messages, and you can report or block bad senders. One thing it doesn't currently do is encrypt your messages, however, so if you're sending stuff that needs to be secret you shouldn't use this feature.

If you tried Bluesky in its early invite-only days it's definitely worth revisiting now: it's much more compelling now, partly because the app is much better and partly because there are established communities there. If DMs were the only thing keeping you on Twitter, this would be a good time to switch. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).