Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

What is Bluesky, and how to get an invite

Twitter has been mired in controversy almost since it came into being, but that seems to have reached new heights during Twitter’s Elon Musk era. Regardless of where you stand on Twitter’s current state, it’s clear that a large number of people are looking for a new home, and the fledgling social media site Bluesky has become one of the top contenders. However, you currently need an invite to access the beta version of the site, and those invites are scarce and becoming a hot item for those who crave access.

But what exactly is Bluesky, who created it, and how can you get your hands on an invite? Here’s an explainer of exactly what you can expect from the new Twitter clone, Bluesky.

What is Bluesky?

The Bluesky app on the Google Play Store, displayed on a Pixel 7 Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Unless you’re really plugged into tech news, you may not have heard the name “Bluesky” until April. Created from parts of Twitter in 2019, it didn’t hire its first employees or become an independent company until 2021. It finally began garnering public attention when it released an iOS app in February 2023. Since then, it’s slowly been picking up traction as a potential Twitter alternative, and with the release of an Android app in April 2023, it’s started getting some real recognition.

But what actually is Bluesky? In short, it’s a new social media network that bears a striking resemblance to Twitter. Follow people, like their posts, and make replies — it’s all very Twitter, all the way down to the app interface. You even send “skeets” instead of tweets — a term that has caught on, despite CEO Jay Gruber’s pleas. But look a little deeper, and more differences can be found.

One of the main differences is how Bluesky is structured. Rather than having a central server where all posts are collated, Bluesky works a little more like another Twitter alternative, Mastodon. Like Mastodon, Bluesky is decentralized — meaning there isn’t a single central server under the control of Bluesky. Instead, there are many separate servers, each with its own moderation principles and curation. While there’s still an official Bluesky Social server that anyone can join, there’s an expectation that users will branch off into their own networks, which Bluesky calls “applications”.

Sound confusing? It isn’t too complex, though a lot can be said for Bluesky keeping this particular element quiet for the moment, as confusion over the server system can be a significant barrier to entry for many Mastodon newbies.

Thankfully, Bluesky makes it easy. If the idea of separate applications and decentralized networks makes your head swim — and you wouldn’t be alone there — then just sign up for Bluesky Social network.

Is Bluesky legit?

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bluesky was co-founded by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, so it’s about as legitimate as you can get. Interestingly, Bluesky seems to be Dorsey’s second stab at getting the Twitter formula right. Dorsey has spoken about his regrets over Twitter, and those regrets center largely around the centralized nature of the platform, and the fact that it eventually ended up as a company at all.

Dorsey sees social media at its most pure with Bluesky. Rather than being run as a company with moderation principles, he wants to put power back into the hands of the people. While Bluesky will operate its own server, there’s an emphasis on user-run servers, taking power away from Bluesky as a company and placing it into the hands of separate moderation teams. Considering Twitter’s troubles over the years with content moderation, this could be a smart move from Dorsey — though there’s been some historical pushback on that theory.

The bottom line is yes, Bluesky is a legitimate social network. However, that only means you should treat it with as much trust as you would normally treat social networks — and that’s a personal decision that’s going to be different for everyone.

Is Bluesky owned by Twitter?

Twitter app store listing on a mobile device.
Souvik Banerjee/Unsplash

The short answer is “no,” but there’s more to this story than just that. Initially, Bluesky was “spun out” from Twitter in 2019. In business terms, a “spin-out” is when a company moves parts of its assets into a new one before it’s launched and runs as a new company in its own right. So while Bluesky may have begun life as part of Twitter, it has since been fully separated from its parent company.

Bluesky shares a lot of other similarities with Twitter. As mentioned, Twitter founder Dorsey is involved in the company, as was previous Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. But even with those strong links, Bluesky is fully separate from Elon Musk’s Twitter and certainly isn’t owned by Twitter.

Is Bluesky available for Android and iPhone?

Yes, there’s a Bluesky app available right now on both Android and iPhone. You can find Bluesky on the Google Play Store and Bluesky Social on the Apple App Store.

Remember that you’ll need an invite code to sign up, which is pretty scarce right now. You can go ahead and download the app ahead of time if you’re happy to wait, but keep in mind that Bluesky is still under construction. Word from those on the inside describes a rather basic Twitter clone, with routine features like blocking and direct messaging not having been added. So while Bluesky is very much a hot property right now, it’s clear it’s not quite ready for release … yet.

How to get a Bluesky invite

The Bluesky logo.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you want a Bluesky invite, then you’ll have to join the queue — literally. The best way to get into Bluesky is to join the waitlist and wait for an invite to drop into your inbox. To sign up for the waitlist, head to the Bluesky beta website and enter your email address.

There are other ways to get invite codes for the platform, but they’re not going to be as easy as signing up for the waitlist and waiting. People already on the platform sometimes get invite codes they can share with people, and if you have a friend already on the new social network, this could be a good way to get in. Unfortunately, this also means there’s a bustling market for Bluesky invite codes, and some unscrupulous people have taken to charging money for their codes.

We do not recommend spending money to get hold of a Bluesky code. There’s very little stopping somebody from taking your money and not giving you a code or giving you a fake or expired code. It’s a risk, and it’s probably not one that’s worth making for a social media network that will eventually be open to everyone anyway.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Jansen
Mark Jansen is an avid follower of everything that beeps, bloops, or makes pretty lights. He has a degree in Ancient &…
Elon Musk holds off on Twitter deal pending fake account data review
Elon Musk stands looking to his right.

Even billionaires can get a sense of buyer's remorse — for some weird reason. Elon Musk announced on Friday he is temporarily putting the Twitter deal on hold pending a review of fake/spam account data.

Musk holding off on the $44 billion acquisition of the social media platform shook up the stock market in the process. Twitter's shares nosedived by more than 10% to $40.50 at market opening, trading $14 below the acquisition price of $54.20 per share.

Read more
Emoji reactions hit WhatsApp as Meta fights the competition
Person texting on a smartphone using WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is gaining a slew of new features some would consider overdue for a messaging app of its size. The company is adding support for message reactions, larger file shares, and bigger groups in an update that's slowly rolling out across iOS and Android. Many of these features are present in other apps, notably Telegram, so WhatsApp is under pressure to keep up.

Message reactions are the most noticeable feature for users on a day-to-day basis. They're already present on Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Google Messages, Instagram, and Snapchat, so WhatsApp is a pretty late addition. At the moment only a limited number of reactions are present, but the WhatsApp team notes that a broader range of expressions is coming.

Read more
Twitter Circle will soon let you send semiprivate tweets
A Twitter icon on a blue background on a smartphone's screen, all on a white background.

Robert de Niro introduced Ben Stiller and all of us to a concept called the Circle of Trust in the 2000 film Meet the Parents. Now, over 20 years later, Twitter is taking that lesson to heart and spinning it into a new feature it's testing called Twitter Circle.

The Twitter Safety team on Tuesday introduced the feature, which is designed to allow users to share their tweets with up to 150 people instead of sharing them with a public audience. Some people are able to use Twitter Circle already, but it's currently unknown when it will be rolled out to everybody. The testing phase is not exclusive to either iOS or Android, nor is it exclusive to Twitter Blue subscribers.

Read more