Screenshot 2023 05 26 at 12.23.47 PM

Bluesky distributes feeds with custom algorithms

One of Bluesky’s potentially biggest features is here: custom algorithms, or what it calls “custom feeds.” The idea is that you can subscribe to feeds that have algorithms tuned to show different types of posts than what you might see in Bluesky’s main “What’s Hot” feed.

In practice, custom feeds work much like Twitter lists. Similar to those, you can add specific custom feeds and they will show up at the top of the timeline as different tabs for you to choose from. You can choose which feeds to block from a new “My Feeds” menu in the app’s sidebar. By default, that tab contains feeds for “What’s Hot” (“Trending content from the entire network”), “What’s Hot Classic” (“The original What’s Hot experience”), “Bluesky Team” (“Posts from members of the Bluesky Team”) and “Popular With Friends” (“A mix of popular content from the accounts you follow and content your followers like”).

“What is Alf”

My Feeds also has a section for discovering new feeds. There are plenty of options already, including tame feeds, like “Cat Pics” and “Music,” but also feeds that cater to Bluesky’s weirder side, like “Hellthread Feed” and “What is Alf.” Best of all, you don’t actually have to block any feeds, which means that you can set things up to only see a reverse chronological history of posts from people you follow if you want.

So far, I really like the implementation of these custom feeds. It’s nice to feel that I have some control over what is served to me algorithmically, especially in a world where Elon Musk’s posts can take over Twitter and the TikTok feed is extremely good at keeping me sucked into the app. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I often limit myself to just the feed of people I follow — I have enough distractions in my life already.


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“We want a future where you control what you see on social media,” wrote Bluesky CEO Jay Graber in a March blog post on the platform’s vision for the algorithmic choice. “We aim to replace the traditional ‘master algorithm’, controlled by a single company, with an open and diverse ‘algorithm market’.”

Custom feeds are now available in the latest version of Bluesky’s mobile apps and web client, bsky. app. However, Twitter’s alternative remains invite-only, so the only way to try it yourself is if you already have an account or if someone sends you an invite code. (I don’t have any spare, sorry!)