Twitter Bluesky is CEO’s vision for open, decentralized social media

Chris Burns - Dec 11, 2019, 2:51 pm CST
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Twitter Bluesky is CEO’s vision for open, decentralized social media

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced a team of “up to 5” people would develop an “open and decentralized standard for social media.” The “ultimate goal” for this system would be for Twitter to be “a client of this standard.” Dorsey suggested that though Twitter started as a relatively open system for social networking, they became centralized, but “a lot’s changed over the years…”

According to Dorsey, one challenge for Twitter now is the “value of social media” in that it’s “shifting away from content hosting and removal.” Instead, as the value of social media shifts toward “recommendation algorithms directing one’s attention,” there lies an issue. The “recommendation algorithms” of which he speaks, he says, are “typically proprietary, and one can’t choose or build alternatives. Yet.”

The biggest issue – the “third” issue of which Dorsey spoke today – centered on the incentives of modern social media. “Existing social media incentives frequently lead to attention being focused on content and conversation that sparks controversy and outrage, rather than conversation which informs and promotes health.”

To start action on this system, Dorsey pointed to the name of the effort, Bluesky, and Twitter’s CTO, Parag Agrawal (@paraga), who is quoted in the Tweet thread below.

He outlined several hurdles that an open system will face. These challenges are inevitable. Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal pointed toward the Twitter account BlueSky for more information. One odd bit here is the mention Jack made of Bitcoin, Square, and Square Crypto, as you’ll see below.

It’s possible Jack only meant to refer to this system as a sort of example of decentralized standard that’s already rolling. But mentioning Bitcoin, particularly this specific part of the Bitcoin universe, suggests there’s more in the mix than an open social network protocol for all. If you’d like to see an open system that’s already in play, see ActivityPub with W3.


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