Bluesky Social: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s new social media platform explained, invite code - what is app?

The platform - a decentralised social network - works similarly to Mastadon

Jack Dorsey in 2018 (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)Jack Dorsey in 2018 (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Jack Dorsey in 2018 (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

An invite-only Twitter alternative has been gaining traction in the social media space in recent weeks, as users dissatisfied with Elon Musk’s running of the company look for other platforms on which to make their voices heard.

Bluesky is a project to develop an open, decentralised standard for social media. It was first announced by then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in 2019, as a “spin-out” organisation handled by the company.

Dorsey co-founded Twitter in 2006, and served as the social media platform’s CEO until 2008, when he was replaced by Evan Williams. Dorsey later returned to the company as CEO in 2015, but left the role again in 2021.

Dorsey’s departure from Twitter in 2008 was reportedly due to concerns about his management style and his focus on other projects. His 2021 departure was announced by the company in a statement, which cited his desire to focus on other projects as the reason for his departure.

On Thursday (27 April), Bluesky announced it had seen its “biggest single-day” jump in users, as notable names and celebrities flocked to the site to get a piece of the action ahead of the platform’s full, public release of its Bluesky Social app.

So just exactly what is the social media network, and how does it work? More importantly, how can you get an all important invite to join? Here is everything you need to know.

What is Bluesky?

Bluesky aims to create a decentralised social network protocol so that various social networks, each with their own systems of moderation and curation, can communicate with one another using an open standard.

Decentralised social network protocols are a type of protocol that allows social networking services to be built and operated without relying on a central authority or single entity to control the network. Users are able to interact with each other directly through a peer-to-peer network, rather than through a central server.

This means that the major upside of a decentralised network is increased user data security, as each user effectively has their own “node” on the network, which stores their data and content rather than a server controlled by a company or organisation.

Users are therefore able to choose which data they share with others, and can control who has access to their personal information, and who does not. In addition, decentralised social network protocols are less vulnerable to censorship and data breaches, as there is no central point of control for hackers or governments to target.

For a recent notable example, think back to Mastadon, the social media platform that was relatively unheard of until Elon Musk took control of Twitter, and users jumped ship looking for an alternative.

With Mastodon, users create accounts on their own instances, which are essentially their own nodes on the network. Each instance on Mastodon has its own set of rules and moderators, giving users greater control over the content they see and the communities they participate in.

Mastodon also allows users to export their data and move it to another instance or platform, giving them greater control over their data and the ability to switch between instances without losing their content or followers.

Bluesky works similarly, with each social network using the Bluesky protocol called an "application". The platform’s creators are also keen to point out that the protocol is not using blockchain technology.

How can I get an invite code?

Bluesky can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, but setting up an account might not be easy.

That’s because Bluesky Social is invite-only, and as such, you must be invited by someone who is already using the app. But since it has only a relatively small user base at the time of writing, finding someone like that is difficult.

If you don’t have an invite code, users are required to join a waiting list that might be lengthy, and there is no clear indication of when access may be granted to a wider pool of potential users.

It’s also worth noting that you should be wary of people posing as sellers of Bluesky Social codes online, who might be trying to scam users. It is advisable to proceed with caution and to confirm the veracity of such claims first.

For more information, and to join the waitlist, head to Bluesky Social’s website