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Observations from poking Bluesky app

I dunno how many here have given it a try yet, or simply don't ever intend to but are nevertheless a little curious, so I'm putting down some notes here.

Very basics:

  1. It's very much a Twitter clone on the surface.
  2. It may depend on your setup, but in my experience I did not have to provide a phone number to sign up.
**Onboarding details:**
  1. Onboarding is pretty traditional social media, pick some interests, it pulls some accounts it associates with those and has them set to be followed unless you opt not to.
  2. It diverges slightly in that it then tells you your default feed will be Following with settings to disable showing replies/reposts/quote posts if you like (defaults are to display all of these).
  3. Where it gets much different is that it then offers you a selection of custom feeds to make your Main Feeds. For a very rough analogy, these can be a little like communities here or subreddits on Reddit, with more involved under the surface producing them.
  4. This analogy is made more apparent with "Topical Feeds" that try to relate to your previously selected interests.
  5. Lastly some basic adult/graphic content settings that let you adjust whether to show them outright, warn about them, or hide them completely (i.e. not display in your feeds at all). Defaults, aside from non-sexual nudity, are set to not display any of this and hide it all.
**Actual use:**
  1. Besides more granular graphic content filtering and emphasis on custom feeds, it's pretty much like Twitter or Mastodon/Misskey/etc.
  2. You can kinda "lock" your account to make it less visible to those outside of Bluesky, but that's the closest to limited visibility you'll find at the moment so far as I could tell.
  3. Unlike say, Twitter and Mastodon et al: you can't block/mute people from their posts, you have to go to their profile to do so.
    10.1. Unlike Mastodon/Misskey/etc.: You can't limit the reach of your posts, so they're all maximally public, no option to post only to followers, no option to have replies be unlisted so they don't kinda spam up follower feeds, etc.
    10.2. You currently can't upload gifs/short videos, though you can link them.
    10.3. No audio posts either from what I gather (an option on Mastodon and I'd imagine Misskey and the like as well).
  4. Despite missing those details, it does have similar levels of filtering tools to stuff like Mastodon, and more streamlined exchange of blocklists.
  5. Also while you can't limit the reach of your posts, you can limit who can respond to them.

Some miscellaneous quirks
Something not mentioned as much is that the custom feeds are, at least at the moment, not really user friendly to try to make yourself. These very much have a vibe of something more tech-oriented people may make for others to use, even with the Skyfeed app to ease their creation. If anything the fact something like Skyfeed exists is some evidence of this.

The trick is, the custom feeds are genuinely more flexible than lists of accounts or followed hashtags/terms on Misskey or Mastodon, but at the moment Bluesky's custom feeds seem kind of underutilized. Many of the custom feeds could simply be lists as found elsewhere.

Not sure how much of that is because the only existing platform using the AuthTransfer Protocol is Bluesky, technical challenge, or something else, but that's the state of many of them for now.

Oh, and presently there's no DMs, just as a stray detail to mention. Skimming convos I got the sense it may be to avoid giving people the sense of any private communications on there.

Also despite all these feeds and a more centralized model (dependent presently only on Bluesky's relay), there's still a sentiment from some there of the place being empty and lacking engagement. In the time I was poking about it, one of the "viral" posts in my discover feed was someone there, amusingly much like here and elsewhere on the fediverse, reminding people they have to engage/talk to others to get any engagement.

Some things really don't change where you go online.

My overall takeaway thus far is that it's pretty much par for the course with microblogging platforms, and not necessarily the best first showing of what the AuthTransfer protocol might really enable. Especially not with its lacking reach/privacy controls, not that any federated social media makes sense to promote as highly private, but still, some controls are better than none.


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  • Firstly, sorry for any potential derailment. This is a comment about the Markdown used in your post (I wouldn't normally mention it, but consider it fair game since this is a 'Fediverse' community).
    The spec for lemmy's spoiler format is colon-colon-colon-space-spoiler. If you miss out the space, then whilst other Lemmy instances can reconstitute the Markdown to see this post as intended, Lemmy itself doesn't generate the correct HTML when sending it out over ActivityPub. This means that other Fediverse apps that just look at the HTML (e.g. Mastodon, KBIN) can't render it properly.
    Screenshot from kbin:

    Also, if you add a horizontal rule without a blank line above it, Markdown generally interprets this as meaning that you want the text above it to be a heading. So anything that doesn't have the full force of Lemmy's Markdown processor that is currently trying to re-make the HTML from Markdown now has to deal with the ending triple colons having 'h2' tags around it.
    Screenshot from piefed:

    (apologies again for being off-topic)