Bluesky rolls out 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 showcase different kinds of posts than what you might see in Bluesky’s main “What’s Hot” feed.
In practice, the custom feeds work a lot like Twitter lists. Similar to those, you can pin specific custom feeds, and they’ll show up at the top of your timeline as different tabs to pick from. You can pick which feeds to pin from a new “My Feeds” menu in the app’s sidebar. By default, that tab has feeds for “What’s Hot” (“Top trending content from the whole 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 accounts you follow and content that your follows like”).
My Feeds also has a section to discover new feeds. There are a lot of options already, including tame feeds, like “Cat Pics” and “Music,” but also feeds that cater to the weirder side of Bluesky, like “Hellthread Feed” and “What’s Alf.” Best of all, you don’t actually have to pin any feeds, meaning that, if you want, you can set things up so that you only see a reverse chronological timeline of posts from the people you follow.
So far, I really like the implementation of these custom feeds. It’s nice to feel like I have some control in what gets algorithmically served to me, especially in a world where Elon Musk’s posts can take over Twitter and TikTok’s feed is extremely good at keeping me sucked into the app. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I often limit myself just to the feed of people I follow — I have enough distractions in my life already.
“We want a future where you control what you see on social media,” Bluesky CEO Jay Graber wrote in a March blog post about the platform’s vision for algorithmic choice. “We aim to replace the conventional ‘master algorithm,’ controlled by a single company, with an open and diverse ‘marketplace of algorithms.’”
Custom feeds are available now in the latest version of the mobile apps and on Bluesky’s web client, bsky.app. However, the Twitter alternative remains invite-only, so the only way you can try this for yourself is if you already have an account or if someone sends you an invite code. (I don’t have any spares, sorry!)