Bluesky was a research project that started within Twitter to develop a decentralized and open standard for the social network and use it to promote free speech and prevent counter-intelligence.
However, despite Twitter’s investment in this project, Bluesky belonged to something other than Twitter and continued its path as an independent startup until the private beta version of the Bluesky program was released on the App Store.
“We’re building an app that’s a gateway to a world of possibilities on the AT protocol,” Bluesky said at the time of his initial introduction.
The basic idea of AT Protocol is to separate social applications from social networks so that people have the freedom to develop or use other applications using the same infrastructure, backend, and data.
In other words, the protocol goes beyond the platform, and by creating a user account on the protocol, it doesn’t matter which platform you use; Because there is access to user account data on any platform.
What is bluesky?
According to the developers’ description, the BlueSky social application for the AT protocol is like a browser for the Internet. If the Internet were built without a browser, it would not be attractive, and the AT protocol would lose its appeal without Bluesky.
In February 2023, the first private beta version of the BlueSky application was released on the iOS operating system, which allows registering and creating a BlueSky user account only through an invitation code. Of course, using the decentralized Bluesky social network through the web (only on desktop) is possible.
History of Bluesky
It all started when the former CEO of Twitter felt the need for a decentralized social network. Later, Jack Dorsey even admitted that he regretted his role in centralizing the Internet.
In 2019, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said of the AT protocol that it was intended to allow Twitter to access and interact with a broader set of public conversations. In addition, it should focus on creating Open Recommendation algorithms that will ultimately bring healthier conversations (free of counter-information) to Armaghan and increase creativity.
The way to achieve such an important goal was made possible not by creating a decentralized program but by developing a new protocol. Bluesky’s team unveiled the initial version of the AT Protocol.
What is the AT protocol?
Like the ActivityPub protocol on which Mastodon is available as a decentralized social network, the AT protocol was developed to create an essential standard for decentralized social networking.
In spring 2022, the Bluesky team first introduced ADX as the first version of the federated social networking support protocol, a keyword of the Authenticated Data Experiment. Then in the summer, they optimized and simplified the design of ADX to present its new version, Authenticated Transfer Protocol or AT protocol, with the @ logo.
In the definition of AT Protocol, on Bluesky’s official website, it is said that it is a new federated social network that integrates ideas from the latest decentralized technologies into a simple, fast, and open web. What does the national network mean?
What is a federated network?
A federated network is defined as a method of communication between servers, Similar to what we saw earlier in the email. It doesn’t matter if you have a Yahoo or Google email or use private email services. With an active email address, you can still send messages to other email addresses provided by other companies.
Also, in AT protocol, you can have multiple websites instead of the network running on a single website. Therefore, users can choose their hosting provider for their data. Even businesses and individuals can have their hosting if needed.
Features of AT Protocol
User account portability: AT protocol developers believe that organizations should only own the virtual identity of individuals if they answer to users unconditionally. So with the help of AT Protocol, you can transfer your user account from one provider to another without overshadowing your data or communication graph.
Algorithmic selection: Social network algorithms determine what content users see and to who they have access. Therefore, in the AT protocol, we should have control and mastery over the algorithms to secure the online space. As a result, the @ protocol includes an open algorithms mode so that users have more control over their experiences and manage content as they wish.
All-in-one interaction: The world needs various connected services to ensure healthy competition. Interoperation should create the same feeling as the web in the user. The AT protocol incorporates Lexicon schema-based interoperability framework to address cross-platform interoperability issues.
Performance: Many new protocols need to pay more attention to interpretation, and this neglect ultimately makes pages load long before the timeline is displayed. The developers of the AT protocol claim that functionality was not optional for them; Therefore, they made it one of their priorities so that large-scale loading is also fast.
Of course, the program is still in progress; So, so if you manage to create an account on Bluesky, don’t be disappointed when you encounter the first bug.
The AT protocol is not the first attempt to provide a decentralized social network, and in 2019, when Jack Dorsey announced the start of the project on Twitter, it faced reactions. However, Dorsey said that Bluesky’s team might find an option among existing protocols that could be developed, and they’re open to working on it.
Create Bluesky account
To join and create a BlueSky account, you must have an invitation code and enter your email to be on the waiting list. Although Bluesky is similar to Twitter, creating a Twitter account differs from Bluesky.
Enter your email address in the corresponding box and click the Join Waitlist button. The time of receiving the code in this way is not predictable, But if someone around you has a BlueSky account, they can receive a new invitation code every two weeks.
If you have a Bluesky invite code, follow the steps below. Creating a Bluesky account has three main stages: 1. Choosing a server provider; 2. Enter the invitation code and email; 3. Choose a username.
First step: Run the program on the iPhone after receiving and installing it. On the first page, there are two buttons at the bottom of the page: one is Create a new account, and the other is Sign in. Click on Create a new account option.
Step 2: Choose a hosting provider and host your Bluesky account. By default, you can stick to the first option, Bluesky; But you can choose the second option and use your hosting or any company whose address you have.
Also, you can access these settings and transfer your data to the host in question. We continue with the default settings in the BlueSky account creation tutorial.
Step 3: On this page, you must enter your invitation code in the first box and type your email address in the following box, the password in the following box, and finally, in the last box, check the over 12 years old commitment option.
After going through the mentioned steps, you can choose your username and click Next. Also, if you have a dedicated domain name, you can use it. These settings can also be changed after creating a BlueSky user account, So do not worry; Because you can later buy a personal domain and a dedicated host and enter its information in the BlueSky user account.
Bluesky replaces Twitter; Similarities and differences
Bluesky is a decentralized alternative to Twitter with a very similar design to Twitter, But you can’t use terms like retweet in it. At the top of the profile page, you can upload an image, and the profile picture will be placed in a circular box, just like Twitter, which will open in full screen when you touch it.
The user account’s name is shown in large font, which will be in the format your name.bsky.social by default when registering with the Bluesky host. The Handle name will be placed at the bottom of it (similar to the Twitter username, which can also be the address of the user’s domain). The number of followers and accounts they follow and the number of posts are also visible. The navigation bar at the bottom of the screen will direct you to different parts of this social network, and the side menu will provide access to dock mode and settings.
The number of characters for Bluesky posts is limited to 300 characters, and like Twitter, it is also possible to upload an image. There have yet to be advertisements in the Bluesky program, But the probability of maintaining this issue is very low; Unless a paid subscription is available. The app is still in private beta testing; Therefore, you may encounter many bugs while using it.
Bluesky has not yet provided the possibility of sending personal messages between users, Although a small number of users in this version may be one of the reasons; Because the space looks more casual than other social networks.
Considering the performance of Elon Musk on Twitter and the decrease in his popularity among users, users are expected to welcome the Bluesky social program significantly, and soon its Android version will be available to those interested.
What is your opinion about the Bluesky app as a Twitter alternative?