Ubaid Zargar
Digital

Is Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky another Threads in the making?

  • Twitter's (now X) former CEO Jack Dorsey's new networking site is now open to all

  • The Twitter alternative only allowed new users through invites prior to this development

  • The platform has amassed 800K+ new users since it opened access to all

Bluesky, the social media platform born from the mind of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is making news by opening its doors to the public. This marks a departure from its previous invite-only model, as users are now invited to join the platform freely.

What is intriguing about the app is how it eerily resembles the former UI of Twitter (now X). The blue accent colors atop a white backdrop, with the typography employed is particularly reminiscent of the pre-Musk Twitter. Also, the social media platform is decentralised, which means that it will enable users across platforms to engage with each other.

The similarities in UI between Bluesky and Twitter
The similarities in UI between Bluesky and Twitter

In the past, other platforms like Mastodon, Spill, Post, Pebble, and Threads have attempted to carve out a niche in the microblogging world, but none have posed a significant challenge to Twitter, except Threads. However, even Threads has struggled to gain traction after the initial hype died down.

As per Market intelligence firm Sensor Tower, Meta’s alternative to X ended July with 8 million daily active users, an 82% drop from its peak daily active user count of 44 million just days after Threads launched on July 5, 2023. While the platform now hosts more than 130 million monthly users, the growth rate has diminished significantly.

Also Read: Zuckerberg vs Musk: Will Meta’s ‘Threads’ rekindle brand interest in text-based microblogging?

The implication of these 'failures', so to speak, is that the platforms are rendered incapable of churning in ad money. While X may have had its fair share of friction with advertisers, they still make up 70-75 percent of X's revenue, as per industry reports. According to Bloomberg, X's revenue for 2023 is estimated to be roughly $3.4 billion, boosted by subscriptions and data licensing deals.

Bluesky is yet another platform aiming to dethrone X from its hegemonic position in the microblogging space. Dorsey introduced the decentralised social media project back in 2019 while he was still Twitter’s CEO. 

As things stand, Bluesky has just over 4.2 million active users (800K+ of which came right after the app opened access to everyone), versus X's 335.7 million user base. With the platform now breaking out of its invite-only cocoon, will it be able to take on the goliath that is Twitter?

Here is what experts have to say.

Edited excerpts:

Is Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky another Threads in the making?

Naresh Gupta, co-founder, Bang in the Middle

Bluesky is a bit like the retro Twitter, same colour scheme, similar way of building content etc, and so it reminds people of early Twitter. I am not sure if that’s enough to make people fall in love with Bluesky and go skeeting all day. The advantage Twitter has is that it has the audience, and so everyone wants to be there. twitter though has an underbelly that can be leveraged by Bluesky. 

Twitter’s biggest threat today is poor subscriber management, poorer content management and increasingly an American-centric view. This has made it unpopular with brands, with a few influential people and has seen its ad revenues drop. However, none of this is powerful enough for Twitter to lose its pole position. I don't see Twitter yielding an inch to Bluesky, but I do see space for a true micro-blogging site given our shorter attention span and not wanting to consume long-format copy. How the platform evolves will be key to the success of Bluesky. 

Is Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky another Threads in the making?

Rajiv Dhingra,  founder and CEO, ReBid

The emergence of Jack Dorsey's Bluesky in the competitive landscape of social media platforms, notably against X (formerly Twitter), marks a significant moment. X's enduring appeal, despite new entrants, underscores its robust network effect and user retention, fueled by a unique blend of real-time information sharing, public discourse, and personal networking. However, under Elon Musk's stewardship, X has seen notable shifts in policies and guidelines, sparking debates on content moderation, freedom of expression, and platform governance. These changes open a window for Bluesky.

Bluesky's potential isn't just in challenging X, but in reimagining the microblogging experience. With Dorsey at its helm, it promises an alternative rooted in decentralisation, aiming to address the pitfalls of centralised control and moderation that currently beleaguer social media. While Threads sought to capitalise on a similar momentum, its approach and execution differed. Bluesky, leveraging Dorsey's insight into the sector's dynamics and X's evolving landscape, stands a chance to not only attract but retain a user base seeking a fresh paradigm in social interaction.

The key for Bluesky will be in effectively differentiating itself by harnessing these shifts, focusing on user empowerment, and transparent governance. As X navigates its new direction, the opportunity for Bluesky lies in presenting a compelling, user-centric alternative.

Is Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky another Threads in the making?

Shradha Agarwal, co-founder and CEO, Grapes

I believe it's still too soon to draw conclusions about whether Bluesky will replace platforms like Threads or X. Despite its promising features, its user base still remains relatively small, hovering around 3 million compared to competitors like Threads or X, which boast user bases of around 335 million. Therefore, it's more of a wait-and-see situation to observe how Bluesky grows and progresses.

But also, since Bluesky has transitioned into a no-invitation app now and resembles exactly the interface of X, it might encourage some consumers to view it as a viable alternative but larger companies targeting a broader audience may still hesitate to adopt it until it shows significant growth and market presence.

Is Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky another Threads in the making?

Prashant Puri, co-founder and CEO, AdLift

One word that comes to mind when you think of Twitter is resilience. It has firmly withstood competition over the years. However, it's going to be interesting to see how Bluesky compares. Ever since Elon Musk's take-over, we have seen an increasing disenchantment amongst Twitter users, and we may see several exploring a new micro-blogging platform. While the initial 800,000 Bluesky downloads do sound promising, it could be attributed towards people purely checking out if the new kid on the block has something innovative to offer.

Have news to share? Write to us atnewsteam@afaqs.com