One of Bluesky’s potentially most important 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 present 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 these, you can pin specific custom feeds, and they’ll appear at the top of your timeline under different tabs to choose from. You can choose which feeds to pin from a new “My Feeds” menu in the app’s sidebar. By default, this tab contains feeds for “What’s Hot” (“Most Trending Content Across the Network”), “What’s Hot Classic” (“The Original What’s Hot Experience”), “Bluesky Team” (” Posts from Bluesky Team Members”) and “Popular With Friends” (“A mix of popular content from accounts you follow and content you follow like”).
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’s Alf.” Best of all, you don’t need to pin any feeds, which means 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.
I really like the implementation of these custom feeds so far. It’s nice to feel that I have some control over what’s served to me algorithmically, especially in a world where Elon Musk’s posts can take over Twitter and TikTok’s feed is extremely efficient to keep me sucked into the app. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I often limited myself to the flow 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 blog post in March 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 ‘algorithm market’.
Custom feeds are now available in the latest version of mobile apps and on Bluesky’s web client, bsky.app. However, the Twitter alternative remains invite-only, so the only way to try it out for yourself is if you already have an account or if someone sends you an invite code. (I don’t have spares, sorry!)