Decentralized social media network Bluesky has confirmed that direct messaging (DM) is one of several new features they plan to launch.

The company, founded in 2021, claims to have experienced significant growth over the past year, increasing the number of users from 40,000 to 5.6 million. The app said in a blog post on its website that it will add videos and improved custom feeds, which it considers “quality of life” improvements and some long-requested features.

However, it’s unclear when these new features will arrive, but the Twitter competitor says “you can expect to see all of these in the coming months.”

What new features will Bluesky add?

The addition of DMs on Bluesky is significant because all posts are currently public. The developers say that the DM service will be integrated into the Bluesky application, enabling personal contact, job hunting, event organization and post-workshops. Initially, this feature will support one-to-one interactions, and users will be able to restrict who can send them DMs. The service will first be “off-protocol” to allow for iterative development.

Until now, images could only be shared on the web. According to the social network, users have been requesting this feature for some time. Bluesky anticipates that clips of up to 90 seconds will be shareable.

The company is exploring various ideas for custom feeds, including space for trending feeds, in-app feed creation, the ability to submit posts to the feed, curated submissions, and manual review of content for inclusion. In addition to this, they are also working on new feedback mechanisms and overall improved feed discovery.

The company also appears to be trying to address trolling on the app by improving the app’s moderation and anti-harassment features. Meanwhile, social media giants have been warned to tame “toxic algorithms”.

How is Bluesky different from Twitter/X?

While Bluesky’s functionality is similar to X (formerly Twitter) in many ways, a major component of the application is its decentralization. It doesn’t yet have DM or some advanced tools like adding accounts to a list. However, as mentioned above, the company is trying to address these flaws in its product roadmap.

The app was conceptualized by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in 2019 and developed alongside Twitter (now known as X). The social network shares a similar interface with Twitter, offering users algorithm selection, co-design, and community-specific moderation. It uses the AT Protocol, an in-house created open source framework that provides transparency into its construction and ongoing development.

Bluesky functions much like a stripped-down version of Twitter, allowing users to create posts of up to 256 characters, including photos. These posts can be replied to, retweeted, liked and managed via the three-dot menu, for reporting, shared via the iOS share sheet or copied as text.

Users can search for and follow others to see updates in their Home timeline. The previous “Popular” feed has been replaced by a more personalized “Discover” feed that displays a wider range of content. The Discover tab is also located at the bottom center of the app navigation, advising new users to follow and showing recent Bluesky updates.

In recent days, Dorsey confirmed that he is no longer a board member and Blue Sky is looking for a replacement. Neither Bluesky nor Dorsey specified why they parted ways, but Jay Graeber (CEO) and Jeremie Miller remain as the other two board members.

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