Bluesky Gets a Real Brand

Jay Graber announced the new branding — a butterfly — on Bluesky’s blog:

Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, we are starting to open up. Posts on Bluesky have been public from the start through the open protocol, but today we’re making them publicly accessible through the app. We’re unfolding a little bit at a time, and are excited to bring you along on this journey of metamorphosis!

This justification might be a little try-hard, but I love the logo: a blue butterfly. It is so nice and so simple that I was surprised when I could not think of another tech company which had used that kind of visual before. And then I remembered MSN. Bluesky’s take is better, of course, and I appreciate how it retains a connection to Twitter. It feels to me like a newer and brighter version of Twitter than it does a knockoff.

This announcement gives me an excuse to share some thoughts on the state of the big three Twitter replacements, beginning with Bluesky. It is my favourite of the three. It feels light and nimble, like it was specifically designed for quick snippets of text — because that is what it is. I appreciate the ability to create and share recipes for algorithmic feeds, and I like how it permits you to tailor filtering to your preferences. Its first biggest struggle right now is that it remains available by invitation only, which has slowed its growth, but perhaps that will prove to be a wise decision in the long-term. The other problem for me is the lack of a real Mac app.

Mastodon is my second-favourite, though it is the one I use most because there are proper apps for it available on all the platforms I use. I also have more followers there which helps when I want answers to a question. The main reason I like it less than Bluesky is because it feels more complicated. Every action is spread across multiple networks, which means adding a post to my favourites means copying the post URL to the search box of my Mastodon instance, and then hitting the star icon. It is one of many hiccups of the existing federated architecture, but it does not seem to me like it is an inherent problem — just an issue with the current implementation.

In distant last place is Threads. It may be the most popular, but it is the one I find myself checking least, and the only one I would not miss if it disappeared tomorrow. In contrast to Bluesky’s lightness, Threads feels cumbersome, like every action necessitates the physical movement of gears in some distant building. Publishing, viewing a thread, or blocking someone takes several seconds each time. The algorithmic home timeline rarely serves me things I am interested in, and seems to favour engagement bait and brands and influencer nonsense and brands, and also brands. It is a shame because it will sometimes show me threads from photographers who post great work, so I tap the heart and hope to see more — but never do. I hide and block with glee. None of this seems to suggest to Threads what I would like to see more or less of.