I have come to both hate and love social media platforms since joining them in the early days via Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. There are some days I just want to quit all social media. Yet, social media has become an indispensable tool for communication, connection, information sharing, and in some cases building community. For years Twitter was my favorite for microblogging, but as X, for better or worse, it's no longer the valued social network it once was for me. Like many of you, I've been looking for an alternative to Twitter.
In search of a Twitter alternative, I spent a lot of time this year on Mastodon and I recently joined newcomers Bluesky and Meta's Threads. What I like about these three newish platforms are that they are decentralized or at least intended to be partially decentralized.
Why Decentralization Matters
Traditional social media platforms being centralized have often been criticized for their lack of transparency, lack of user control, algorithmic bias, and making decisions that aren't always in the best interest of their users. Decentralization is hoping to address all this by giving you more ownership of your own data and letting you take that data with you in the same manner you would with your email, personal websites, and contacts. If you don't like how one company or entity is running their server, you can move on to another server that has the community and governance policies more to your liking.
One of the most significant advantages of Bluesky is its implementation of the AT Protocol, which is expected to enable seamless account portability between different social networks. This means that users can easily migrate their accounts and followers to another Bluesky compatible platform without losing their data or connections. This contrasts with traditional social media platforms, where users are often locked into a single ecosystem, making it difficult to switch without sacrificing their established online presence.
Furthermore, Bluesky emphasizes user ownership of data. Users have the right to access, control, and export their data, ensuring transparency and accountability in how their information is handled. This contrasts with traditional social media platforms where user data is often monetized without explicit consent or clear guidelines.
Please Join Me on Bluesky
I currently know few people on Bluesky and I would like to change that. If you are currently a member on Bluesky, you can find me through username: @bryanruby.com. Unfortunately, if you don't have an account you'll either need to get an invite code first from somebody already on that platform or by joining Bluesky's waitlist.
Bluesky says invite codes are being used to reduce the number of spammers and bad actors that often join social media platforms. Bluesky wants the "network to grow organically" so they are periodically distributing invites to existing Bluesky users so they can invite others to their platform. Additionally, they also monitor the "social graph", and if certain users are inviting other trustworthy participants, they give them more invites to hand out. For example, I currently have five invites to hand out but I won't give them to anyone. However, if we know each other personally or have a connection through another social network....feel free to ask me for an invite to Bluesky.
Once you have an invite into Bluesky, you can download Bluesky from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. You can also access their web app through a browser at bsky.app. For additional information about Bluesky I encourage you to check out their FAQ.
What Happens After Bluesky?
As I've already stated, I plan to spend this month of December focused on Bluesky. After spending some time there, I plan to write a few more articles on my experience at Bluesky Social. Toward the end of the month, I'll give you my final impressions on Bluesky and whether I plan to stay as an active member or not on that social platform.
Once January rolls around I plan to shift my focus from Bluesky to Meta's Threads. While I have many friends and family on Meta's other property (Facebook, Instagram), I'm still finding a difficult time for me personally to feel at home on Threads. There is something missing for me personally at Threads. Threads doesn't hold my attention in the same way Mastodon currently does nor Twitter once did. I'm in that disturbing phase of wanting to like Thread more than I currently am. I'm hoping to change my attitude about Threads by spending more time there after I've completed my evaluation of Bluesky.