Bluesky, a potential Twitter/X alternative, is introducing a significant change to its platform to enhance content discovery for its users. The company is replacing its “What’s Hot” feed, which featured popular posts, with a new, personalized “Discover” feed. This new feed will blend trending content with posts from accounts followed by the user and posts from accounts near the user’s social graph.
The ‘Discover’ Feed and Its Benefits
The “Discover” feed is designed to create a uniquely engaging feed for each individual user, similar to algorithmic feeds used by other social networks like Twitter’s “For You” timeline, TikTok’s “For You” page, Instagram’s “Explore” page, and Facebook’s revamped “News Feed”.
The advantage of such a feed is its proven ability to enhance user engagement. Recent research shows that users who were only given a reverse chronological feed spent significantly less time on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Algorithmic feeds, on the other hand, have been shown to increase time spent and engagement, which is why they are widely adopted across social platforms.
Algorithmic Choice and Custom Feeds
Unlike other platforms, Bluesky does not force its algorithmic feed on its users. Instead, it offers algorithmic choice, allowing users to unpin feeds they don’t like and discover and install new feeds that better suit their interests. If a user doesn’t like the new “Discover” feed, they can simply remove it and replace it with any other custom feed.
Bluesky first introduced custom feeds in May, enabling users to subscribe to feeds with different algorithms or themes. These feeds function similarly to Twitter Lists and can be pinned to a “My Feeds” menu in the app’s sidebar for easy access.
Challenges and Future Prospects
Despite Bluesky’s innovative approach to algorithmic choice and its underlying decentralized networking protocol, the platform has faced criticism over its handling of moderation challenges. The company is also still operating in an invite-only mode, which could limit its ability to attract users leaving Twitter, especially with the rise of Meta’s Threads app.
However, Bluesky’s focus on user choice and customization sets it apart in the social media landscape. As the company continues to innovate and address its challenges, it has the potential to carve out a unique space in the market.
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