Did you receive a Bluesky invite code? Signed up but not sure where to start? First of all welcome! Here is some information to know to get started on the blue sky network.
So, how’s tweeting over here? A post on Bluesky is officially called a post, but you can also name it skeet (contraction of sky and tweet). As you prefer. It is limited to 300 characters, with optional pictures (with alt text) and a link. The users are named skeeters or skydivers, and the timeline is renamed as the skyline. And just like on Twitter/X, “mutuals” (people who follow each other) are also called moots.
Where do I start? Well, of course, like on any social network, the first thing to do is to fill out your profile so that we know a little about who you are. Then I recommend you to take a look at all the settings, in particular “Home Feed Preferences“, “Content Language” and “Moderation / Content Filtering” in order to customize the type of content that Bluesky will display to you, including language(s), minimum number of likes (I suggest to set it to zero to see all posts), and sensitive content. Also enable the “Require alt text on images” setting to force yourself into the habit of putting descriptive text on your images. When you post a message, don’t forget to fill in the language(s) of the message, it’s useful for feeds and to display the translation link to other users. However, all these settings are tied to the machine you’re using, so you’ll have to do them for the web version and for the mobile client separately.
Finally, to use third-party apps like those listed below, it is strongly recommended to create application passwords (“Settings” then “App Passwords“), which will be different from your main password, so you don’t have to share the latter and give limited permissions to third-party applications (including the ability to simply delete your account).
Where are the hashtags? On Bluesky, hashtags are not treated the same as on X. They are just keywords like the rest of the message. Moreover, the hashtags are not (yet?) clickable on the official interface, and there is not (yet?) a trends section either.
So how do you discover content? This is the strength of Bluesky: rather than being interested only in profiles or hashtags, it is possible to subscribe to feeds: these are messages selected via complex and powerful criteria (keywords , language, number of likes, set of profiles etc…), and which therefore make it possible to create message lists on specific or even specialized subjects (literature, cinema, art, IT, cooking, and so on).
In order to discover these feeds, you can do it in Bluesky’s “Discover new feeds” section, but I recommend using the goodfeeds site which allows you to search by keyword, top50, or randomly. It is also possible to create your own feed via this site, or via another site which I will tell you about below (Spoiler alert: it is SkyFeed).
How are the feeds managed? The feeds you have added to your list are accessible via the “My Feeds” link. This list includes the latest posts from each feed one after the other. It is possible to pin feeds in order to make them appear on top, in a personalized order (see “My Feeds” then the cogwheel, or “Settings” then “Saved Feeds”). It is also possible to like a feed (without even needing to add it to your list, by the way), to show your particular affection for this feed and make it go up in the global stats (the additions/pinned are not taken into account as it seems). By the way, pinned feeds also appear at the very top of the Bluesky homepage, in the same order, just after the “Following” tab, and you can scroll them if the list is too long by drag-and-dropping horizontally with the mouse, or on the mobile application by swiping left or right.
Some feeds that I recommend:
- Home+ (displays skeets based on your subscriptions, in order to discover content, such as the “For you” tab of X)
- Newskies (first skeet of everyone, if you want to say hi!)
- Discover (posts that would potentially interest you based on your likes)
- Followers (displays the skeets of people who follow you, excluding mutuals)
- Sci-Fi Fantasy Books (a feed made by my honey, full of posts talking about Sci-Fi Fantasy Books)
After adding some feeds, do not hesitate to follow the profiles that seem to post messages that interest you, in order to grow your homepage (“Following”) with even more interesting content and discover even more profiles . Do not hesitate to go wild at the beginning in order to quickly start getting content, even if it means unsubscribing afterwards to refine.
If you want to create your own feed, here is a video explaining how to make one: Creating your own Bluesky Custom feed (with muted words).
Where are GIFs? Videos? Polls? DMs? Haters? Trolls? These aren’t yet implemented, at least as of this writing. Yes I know, it’s hard… but a little patience! (Except haters and trolls… those we can do without).
I don’t have access to emoji on my computer’s browser? You can access smileys on Windows and Linux using the keyboard shortcut “Windows key” + “period key”. On MacOS, the shortcut seems to be Ctrl+CMD+Space (I couldn’t test it).
I liked Tweetdeck, does it also exist for Bluesky? Affirmative! There are multiple alternatives, mainly deck.blue, Tokimeki Bluesky and SkyFeed. Besides, I recommend using one of those interfaces, even if you didn’t use Tweetdeck before. Confusing at first maybe, but once you get used to it, it’s much more pleasant and powerful to use than the original Bluesky interface, which is very simplistic and close to that of X. Not all of Bluesky’s functions are implemented, but to navigate, reply, consult the feeds (or create one yourself in SkyFeed), it’s a treat. And some are mobile-friendly!
Can I customize my username (handle)? Yes, you can modify it whenever you want by going to “Settings“, then “Change handle“. And if you have a domain name, you can use it as a handle by choosing the option “I have my own domain“. Just add a TXT field in the DNS then validate the domain (or sub-domain). It is a form of certification since only the domain or site owner can obtain the corresponding handle, so if you see for example @cyberciti.biz, it cannot be a usurper (unless the site got hacked). Be careful though, in all cases, the history of handle changes is public and cannot be deleted (for now). Do not recycle a Bluesky account! I should also mention that your old handle(s) can be reused by anyone once you have abandoned them.
How do I invite people to join the network? Invitation codes are distributed on a regular basis, it takes between 1 and 2 weeks to receive a code. If you don’t use them, you accumulate them (you will continue to receive them regularly). And if you’re desperate to get a code for a friend, you can find people on the network who have extra codes and could give you one. But be aware that the account that gave an invite code knows which account was created with it. Also, it looks like moderation is also done through invitations, which means that if you’ve invited someone who is behaving inappropriately, you may not receive any more invitation codes, or your account may be suspended.
That’s all, you can go now, good discovery, and respect your fellows! (In real life too, by the way).
As a bonus, some additional useful links:
- Official links:
- Alternative clients:
- Web interface multi-column, with feed creation tool: SkyFeed (status)
- Another Bluesky web interface, multi-column, supports zoom for accessibility: Tokimeki Bluesky
- Interesting experimental Bluesky web interface : deck.blue (was named blueskydeck before)
- Experimental Bluesky web interface, customizable (but no account management): SkyDeck
- Experimental Bluesky web interface, useful for viewing profiles in offline mode: https://twexit.nl/
- Android client in beta : Graysky (Play Store, Apple Testflight, Github)
- Compare Bluesky clients: Bluesky Client List (written in japanese and english)
- Tool to connect to Bluesky with a Mastodon app (very basic so far): https://skybridge.fly.dev/
- Tools for profiles/DID (Decentralized IDentifiers)/handles:
- Find profiles:
- Other guides and useful tools:
- This very guide, in French: https://www.mwyann.fr/posts/908
- Another guide targeted to scientists, with lots of science feeds: BlueSky for Scientists
- One list of accounts to follow on Bluesky by @johnconorryan.bsky.social
- Chrome/Edge/Brave… extension to add advanced features to Bluesky: Bluesky Overhaul
- Add a poll to your skeet: https://poll.blue/
- Comprehensive lists of community tools for Bluesky:
Anything to add/edit to this article? Feel free to leave a comment under this post. And if you want to find me on Bluesky, my handle is: @mwyann.fr
Le même article en français : https://www.mwyann.fr/posts/908