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Person holding phone with Bluesky sign-in
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In the wake of ongoing turmoil at Twitter (now known as X), several social networks have popped up to offer people an alternative to the Elon Musk-owned platform. One such network is Bluesky, or Bluesky Social to be precise. Kicked off by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey in 2019, Bluesky looks and works like Twitter, but avoids the baggage that Musk has brought to the table.

Also: How to join and use Twitter rival Bluesky Social

Other social networks trying to grab a piece of the pie include Mastodon and Meta’s Threads. Of those two, Mastodon hasn’t quite caught on yet, likely due in part to its initially complicated sign-up process and multi-server environment. However, Mastodon did roll out an update in September designed to make the sign up and sign in steps more user friendly. Threads scooped up tens of millions of users soon after launch, but has seen those numbers drop as it strives to resolve its limitations while adding new features.

Bluesky does lack some of the more advanced options offered by Twitter (for example, direct messages). Plus, its user population is still small compared with other platforms. But it presents a clean and friendly interface with most of the basic features you’d want in a social network. And people already familiar with Twitter will find it a familiar environment.

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The biggest hurdle with Bluesky is simply hopping on board. As the service is still in beta mode, access is available only by invitation, and those invites are in short supply. But if you do manage to snag an invite code, Bluesky offers certain benefits over Twitter, Threads, and other social networks. Here are five reasons to consider joining.

1. You can use the app or website

Use the app or website

Screenshoot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Bluesky is accessible as both a mobile app and a website, so you can read and write posts via your PC or your mobile device. 

Designed for iOS and Android, Bluesky’s mobile app is well designed, with quick access to your feed, search options, notifications, and profile. The Bluesky website is equally capable, with all the major features and options easily accessible. 

Also: 5 things to know about Meta’s Threads app before you entangle your Instagram account

In the mobile app, you can even swipe to the right to display the same menu that appears on the website. Since the app and website look and feel the same, switching between them is smooth and easy.

2. Comprehensive search

Comprehensive search

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Screenshoot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

The search tool in Bluesky can find both accounts and posts. In the Bluesky app or website, select the Search option and type your search term. From the results, you can bounce between posts and users, depending on what you want to see.

3. Easy content filtering

Easy content filtering

Screenshoot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Don’t want to be subjected to certain types of content? That’s easy enough to accomplish in Bluesky both on the website and in the app, although the website gives you more control to make changes.

Also: Bluesky vs. Threads vs. Mastodon: If you leave Twitter, where will you go?

On the website, select the Moderation category. In the app, swipe to the right and then select Moderation. Select Content Filtering and you can choose to hide, warn, or show explicit sexual images or nudity, sexually suggestive content, violent content, hate group images, spam, and impersonated accounts.

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Twitter and Threads offer their own content-filtering capabilities, but Bluesky’s process is more precise and helpful.

4. Control your feed

Control your feed

Screenshoot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

To help you see the accounts you follow and find new ones, Bluesky provides three different feeds — Following, Discover, and Popular with Friends. The Following feed shows you posts only from the accounts you follow. The Discover feed displays the latest new and topical posts. And the Popular with Friends feed shows you posts that are popular among the accounts you follow.

You’re even able to find other feeds. Go to the My Feeds section and select the gear icon. Swipe down to see a few more feeds and then select the Pin icon to pin it to your main feeds page. Select the option for Discover new feeds to view even more feeds created by other users based on certain algorithms. Select one of these feeds and you can pin it or like it.

Also: Micro-social media: What is it and which tools should you try?

In contrast, Twitter offers a feed called For You, with tweets it thinks you’ll like. There is a Following feed to display tweets only from the accounts you follow, but Twitter has a nasty habit of switching your default option to the For You feed. Initially, Threads offered only a For you feed that showed posts for accounts you followed as well as those from random accounts. But Threads has since added another type of Feed called Following, where you can see posts only from your followed accounts. However, Bluesky’s feed options are still more versatile.

5. Custom domains

Custom domains

Bluesky

By default, your username in Bluesky takes on the domain name of bsky.social, as in lancewhit.bsky.social. But if you already own a domain name, you can use that instead. By turning to your own domain name, you can customize and verify your identity on Bluesky and tie it into an existing website.

Also: I’ve used social networks since the 80s. Threads is the most annoying one I’ve tried

Don’t own a domain? No problem. Purchase one directly through Bluesky via the company’s partnership with Namecheap, a domain registrar known for preventing unauthorized domain transfers and protecting domain names. Setting up a domain name this way offers several benefits, including increased privacy in the WHOIS directory, URL forwarding, and email forwarding. To learn more, check out Bluesky’s blog post on “Purchase and Manage Domains Directly Through Bluesky“.

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