It's a big week for Bluesky: the social network, which has been invitation-only since its launch, is now open to everybody. You can access it via the website bsky.app or via dedicated phone apps for iOS and Android; there are also some fun third-party apps such as Greysky.
As we wrote last year, Bluesky is a kind of X/Twitter replacement, although it's unlikely to ever be as big as the pre-Elon Twitter was. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. As a relatively long-term Bluesky user I've found that there's a lot of reasons to consider it as at least one of the places you hang out online. It's not perfect – it lacks direct messaging, you can't lock down your account to make it private and there are concerns about whether Bluesky has the right systems in place to deal with the abuse and trolling that comes to all networks sooner or later – but it's pretty good.
The key difference between BlueSky and other social networks is that there's no algorithm. That means your main feed contains nothing but the people you have chosen to follow. And that's important because rival social media services prefer to show you pretty much everything but.
BlueSky's better without an algorithm
The last few days have been a really good example of why a no-algorithm service is so good. On Threads, the main and biggest Twitter rival, my For You feed – which the app and website keeps switching to, although I don't want to see it – has been full of the same content. I've lost track of how many times I've seen the same Apple Vision Pro, Taylor Swift and Tracy Chapman stories, videos and hot takes in my For You feed.
It's not that I'm not interested in those subjects. I am. But I'm not so interested that I want to read the same things about them 24 hours a day, day after day. It's rather like the online shopping advertising where you buy a garden shed and then spend the next six months being blasted with adverts for more sheds, because if there's one thing we know about buying a shed it's that you can't stop at just one.
The downside of that is that when you start off on Bluesky it seems very quiet: there's no algorithm filling up your feed. But you can easily search for people you already know and use feeds to find others. You can also create your own custom feeds of people in particular categories, which works much like the Lists feature on X/Twitter – but again, these feeds only contain the people you specifically choose. There are no ads and no posts you haven't chosen to see.
Bluesky won't be a Twitter killer; that's arguably Elon Musk's job, and the clear rival to X is Threads. But there's a definite difference in atmosphere between Threads and Bluesky, and I've found the latter is a more fun place to hang out. If you haven't given it a go already, it's definitely worth a look.