Another Look at Bluesky

May 10, 2024

As I’ve been posting for Weblog Posting Month, I’ve been pushing out everything to Mastodon, Bluesky, and Threads. Not that I ever stopped thinking about the new world of short-form social media services, but it’s been on my mind more because of this. There are a few folks I’d like to keep up with who are only on Bluesky and Threads, but my social media time is about 90% Mastodon. It was great following the conversation for the latest Apple event on Mastodon, for example, as it’s where most of the Apple nerds have migrated.

When posting on the other sites, I do scroll around a bit. I still have no idea what the heck is up with Threads. I hate how it defaults to showing me random posts from strangers, and it still bothers me how many people have jumped to yet another Meta product. I’m glad at least that they’ve opened up federation with ActivityPub, though. Hopefully I can follow more people that way from my favourite Mastodon app in the future.

When I scroll around Bluesky, it’s definitely much better than Threads. At the very least things show up in a sane order. I’m also not seeing completely random posts. I’ve written before about my frustrations with the service, but at least there seems to be an organic community there. Threads has what seems like a plastic, try-hard influencer veneer, but I don’t get that from Bluesky.

A primary issue I had with Bluesky is that Jack Dorsey was on the board. Turns out that’s no longer an issue! Of course, on his way out he had some deeply weird things to say about the service. If Dorsey is leaving because Bluesky has reasonable moderation policies, that’s one of the best recommendations for the service I’ve ever heard. I’m sure he’ll be happier in the comments section of Elon Musk’s website, whatever it’s called. Good riddance.

There were two other issues I had with the service. First, it’s really technically complex, and because of this I don’t think it’ll ever be actually decentralized. Just about no one cares about this, but I think it’ll become troublesome once the company needs to make money. Second, all content posted to Bluesky is completely public, and the way the system architecture will make this tricky to change.

Strangely, I’ve started coming around on this second point. Before everything with Twitter, it was the best source of data on people’s behaviour and opinions. I used to have access to large amounts of Twitter data through Gnip and then some other sources my previous workplace partnered with. Getting this data cost a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. Bluesky’s data is all completely open to be mined and analyzed, for better or worse. If Bluesky continues to grow, it would be an even better resource for this data as it wouldn’t require insane monthly fees.

I don’t think I’m going to switch from Mastodon any time soon, but I will be keeping up more with Bluesky going forward. I’m also really looking forward to Project Tapestry from The Iconfactory. It will hopefully make it easier to interact with everything in one place.