Heading into the Blue Sky (Social)

Posted on August 21, 2023 by Aywren

I’ve had a Blue Sky account for a little over a month now. This has given me some time to learn the ins and outs of the social network and form my thoughts on it.

What is Blue Sky?

Blue Sky is a young social media alternative to Twitter. It’s in development, but currently offers both web and app interfaces. This is very important to me as I’m generally using the web interface 99% of the time, but I like having an app for notifications. It’s currently in an invite-only mode, which means Blue Sky users get an invite code to share out to a friend once every couple of weeks.

Why I’m Moving

With the death of TweetDeck – or rather, TweetDeck being put behind a pay wall – this has nudged me to close down activity on my last active Twitter account.

What non-verified users now see when trying to access TweetDeck.

This was my FFXIV Spot of Mummery account, which I used for RP interactions and sharing Amon-related content. I tend to keep this separate from my “main” accounts, though I have chosen to merge the content on my Mastodon.

I worked really hard to build this Twitter account up for years, and having over 2K followers made it hard to move on. But taking away Tweetdeck, which is the only way I can sanely keep up with the content on Twitter, was the final blow.


(Caption) Folks came to say farewell to Amon on Twitter. This was one of the most original replies!

Keep in mind that I love my Mastodon instance on my main account (I’m even a volunteer moderator there), and have no intention to move from it. I am not planning on getting a Blue Sky Aywren account at this point because I have no need for it.

However, since I have chosen not to have a RP account at Mastodon for Amon (because keeping up with more than one Masto account was a bit much) I decided trying out Blue Sky with my FFXIV persona was a good way to learn the ropes there.

What Do I Think of Blue Sky?

Overall, I like Blue Sky, and have put time into building a profile there. 

However, it’s missing some very important features that I use on every social media site. Namely, there is no true filter options for words in content.

Lack of Content Filtering

Yes, there are settings that turns off the most explicit and sexual content (but you have to trust others to mark their content as such). You can also subscribe to Mute Lists, but this mutes entire accounts, not single words in content.

You can’t just say, for example: I want to block all instances of the word “apple” in posts because I really hate apples (I don’t, btw).

There’s no way to do this. Either you mute an account (which I’m being driven to do) or you put up with seeing content you rather not see (which I won’t do).

As someone who filters and customizes my feed A LOT, I feel very strongly about the lack of being able to control what I see on my feeds. At Blue Sky, I rarely follow people I don’t know due to this, and I have a HUGE mute list. The moment I see something in my FFXIV feed I don’t want to see (generally adult-themed suggestive content), that account goes on mute.

I don’t feel like this is a sustainable way forward – especially as the network grows. But if I’m to exist here, it’s all I can do right now.

Feeds vs. Hashtags

There is also no way to use hashtags in Blue Sky. Instead, the network uses something called Feeds.

Basically, this is just a user-created JSON feed that pulls in content from a list of words. I learned how to make a feed for myself using the SkyFeed app. While there is a large and well-followed feed around FFXIV content (which is only what I’m there to see), I wanted to make my own because I preferred a feed that removed reposts, replies, and duplicates.

I follow the larger one and my own, and check in on them depending on how much time I have to sort feed content.

I find this system as useful as hashtags, but not as user-friendly for newcomers. Someone has to tell you about the feed and you have to actively subscribe to it to see the content. Otherwise, you don’t know to follow a feed or to make your own.

I haven’t determined if there is a way to block certain words on a feed, but if I could, that would fix all of my filtering issues.

Of course, you can do keyword searches, but feeds are more effective since a feed can include multiple words. Any way you look at it, feeds are the way to go on Blue Sky.

Blue Sky App

The app is overall functional for what it needs to do. It’s actually less jumpy than the web version when you’ve scrolled a lot of content in a feed (I hope they fix this as it’s annoying on web). However, it doesn’t really provide the information I want – app notifications.

It SHOULD be sending push notifications, but on my iOS phone, I never see anything. I’ve checked my settings and everything is wide open. I want to know when someone likes my post. I want to know when I have a new follower. I want to know when someone replies to something I put out there.

I get none of this, and it kinda defeats the purpose of the app for me. I’m not sure if this is a me problem or an app problem. I’ve kept it installed, though, hoping that whatever is causing it might get fixed.

So, instead, I just have to remind myself to hop on the web version a couple times a day to check notifications. This is overall a fine experience, except for when the feed gets all jittery after having scrolled a while. Hopefully that will be fixed, too.

Overall Thoughts

I will continue to use Blue Sky for my FFXIV account as I’ve already connected with friends from other social media there. It will act as my Twitter replacement for now, unless it gives me a reason not to use it.

I do hope we see future improvements, however. As stated before, lack of filtering words in content is the big turn-off for me. If they could give us that, I would be content with the network as it is.

I’m interested to see where it goes in development, never the less!

Have you tried Blue Sky yet? What are your thoughts?

*|* {August} *|* {2023} *|* {Internet} *|*