Good News: Twitter Announces An Excellent Lead For The Bluesky Decentralized Social Media Protocol Project

from the this-is-good dept

It has been nearly two years since Jack Dorsey announced plans to explore switching Twitter from its current setup as a centralized platform controlled by one company to a distributed protocol project that anyone can build on — called Bluesky. This was especially exciting to me, since some of Jack’s thoughts were inspired by my “Protocols, not Platforms” paper. There hasn’t been that much news on Bluesky since then — leading many to insist that the project was going nowhere. However, there have been plenty of things happening behind the scenes — at least somewhat complicated by the whole pandemic thing. In January of this year, an “Ecosystem Review” document was published.

At the time, I saw some people mocking it as a pointless whitepaper, rather than anything concrete, but to me it was actually a really important step. When Dorsey first announced Bluesky, many people complained that he was trying to reinvent the wheel, when there were a lot of already ongoing projects trying to create distributed and decentralized protocols for social media. Understanding the actual ecosystem, what works, what is limited, what can still be done, and how to build something that will be (1) effective, (2) compelling, and (3) will last, takes some actual thought and consideration.

Since then, Twitter went through a process of interviewing a number of possible leads for the project — and, as a disclaimer, I will note that Twitter invited me to take part in interviewing each of their finalists, and submitting my feedback and thoughts on them. The candidates all had strong ideas and attributes for leading the project, but to me, one stood out way beyond the others: Jay Graber, who has now been named to lead the project. For what it’s worth, Jay was the author of that original ecosystem paper.

This is an exciting announcement, as I felt that Jay’s vision for the project was not just the most complete and thorough of anyone else’s, but also the most compelling. Seeing her vision got me more excited about the possibility to actually move forward to a world of protocols over platforms than I had been in a while. There are, of course, many, many challenges to making this a reality. And there remains a high likelihood of failure. But one of the key opportunities for making a protocol future a reality — short of some sort of major catastrophe — is for a large enough player in the space to embrace the concept and bring millions of users with them. Twitter can do that. And Jay is exactly the right person to both present the vision and to lead the team to make it a reality.

I know that Bluesky is now actively looking to expand the team and hire a few developers. If you have the skills necessary, please check it out. This really is an amazing opportunity to shape the future and move us towards a more open web, rather than one controlled by a few dominant companies.

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Companies: bluesky, twitter

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Comments on “Good News: Twitter Announces An Excellent Lead For The Bluesky Decentralized Social Media Protocol Project”

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11 Comments
Bloof (profile) says:

Remember when Twitter built their company on having a community out there providing third party app support and suddenly pulled the plug on that, blocking major features to try and force users to use their ad laden mess of ever changing features and unwelcome suggestions?

I do, so I fully expect any ‘open’ twitter ecosystem to have a shed load of caveats and suffer the same fate.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Remember when Twitter built their company on having a community out there providing third party app support and suddenly pulled the plug on that, blocking major features to try and force users to use their ad laden mess of ever changing features and unwelcome suggestions?

Yes. Yes, I do. Which is why Bluesky is being set up as an independent organization. It’s being seeded by Twitter, but is designed to stand on its own.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

An independent organization with a project lead that has a huge stake in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency succeeding and a blockchain/NFT project that she would likely love to integrate into BlueSky sounds like a recipe for a system forcing people to have a crypto wallet of some kind even if they don’t want to. I’m excited for the Chinese Social Credit Score, but on the blockchain.

sumgai (profile) says:

… rather than one controlled by a few dominant companies and/or bad government actors.

FTFY.

Before submitting this, I gave my added words some thought. Government actors, USA or otherwise, are not necessarily stupid about tech or the internet. They might be personally so for whatevrer reason, but they have staffers, nearly all of whom are young and quite capable of understanding, and using, both tech and the internet. The problem really boils down to the BGA (bad government actor) abusing his/her power for personal gain over the good of the country (and/or the internet itself). Which is why we have the word "grandstanding" in our lexicon. Sad, that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

She is a cryptocurrency fan for uses where it makes sense and not for situations where it does not. The fact that she has worked on other projects does not mean she will automatically wrap them into Bluesky.

When Jack Dorsey, who has been bullish on Bitcoin and recently said Bitcoin "Will Unite a Deeply Divided Country and eventually the world", and then signs on someone whose work is so deeply entwined with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, I don’t expect BlueSky to skimp on implementing it wherever it can.

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