Bluesky Social Media: What Authors Need To Know | Web Design Relief

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Bluesky Social Media: What Authors Need To Know | Web Design Relief

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (with no Wi-Fi connection), you’ve probably noticed several new social media platforms vying for your attention. Along with the mainstays Facebook and Twitter, there’s also Mastodon, Substack Chat, and the Instagram-entwined Threads. The experts at Web Design Relief are also keeping tabs on another social media newcomer: Bluesky. Here’s what authors need to know about the exclusive, members-only Bluesky social media network.

Bluesky Social Media: The Facts For Authors

Welcome to Bluesky: If you’re familiar with Twitter, you likely have an idea of what Bluesky’s interface is like. Bluesky is a social app conceived by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and is meant to replace Twitter. The app is built on an open-source framework that allows people outside of Bluesky to see how it’s built and how it’s developing.

How to join Bluesky: At the time of this writing, the app is only available to those who receive a much-coveted invite code. Invite codes have been distributed to existing Bluesky users who invite others onto the platform. The “invite-only” status is a way to curb spammers and bad actors from populating the app. Bluesky sees the invite system as a way for server admins to moderate their communities. If you’d like to join, there is currently a waitlist, so you have nothing to lose by signing up now.

With the invite-only policy in place for the foreseeable future, Bluesky functions like a gated community. Bluesky currently has about 300,000 users—and that’s on purpose.

Setting up a Bluesky account: If you manage to snag an invite, you’ll start by making an account that is represented as You’ll also have a display name. If you’re an author who has a custom domain name, you can turn it into your username. The platform functions very much like Twitter, allowing users to create posts up to 256 characters and can include photos. Your posts can be replied to, shared by others, and liked. Naturally, users can follow other Bluesky members and get updates on their home screen. A discover tab offers suggestions of who you might want to follow and a feed of recent posts.

How Bluesky protects users: Bluesky is moderated, and a labeling system on Bluesky helps users identify and avoid trolls. This system allows an organization like the ACLU to make a “hate-speech” label which can be used to flag and even ban offensive content. And Bluesky plans to add more controls to improve the platform’s experience over time.

Comparing Bluesky and Mastodon: If you’ve tried Mastodon, you may have found there’s a bit of a learning curve to using it. Bluesky is similar in some ways to Mastodon but is more intuitive and easier to use; it’s closer to Twitter in many respects. However, unlike Twitter, Bluesky does not offer the ability to send direct messages, and there is no verification system.

Consider Bluesky’s ambitions: Currently, there is no crossover between social media platforms. Unlike your cell phone, which can connect with other cell phones that don’t use the same carrier, social media networks don’t have interoperability. Twitter users must interact on Twitter, and TikTok users must interact with others on TikTok. Bluesky is currently attempting to build a technical foundation that will allow you to cross over and bring social media friends from one network to another.

This Twitter alternative might not have as wide an audience as other apps, but if you manage to get a Bluesky invite, consider giving it a try. And the recent addition of the Threads social media app and Substack Chat into the mix may also determine whether or not it’s worth your time to join Bluesky. Just don’t spread yourself too thin by being on numerous social media networks. Stick to two main social media platforms to make it easier to actively engage with your followers.

Question: If you’ve snagged a Bluesky invite, what do you think of the platform?


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