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Bluesky Takes Off 🌇✈️




May 2, 2023



In this week’s What’s Appening, we report on the launch of Bluesky, the social app that some are claiming will be a true rival to Twitter, or even a “Twitter Killer”. Backed by Jack Dorsey, the app is attracting plenty of celebs, reporters, Twitter power users, and those who were fed up with Elon Musk’s shenanigans. Can it really take a big lump of its market share too? The early signs look good for Bluesky. We also report on Microsoft this week, with news that a UK regulator has blocked that huge Activision-Blizzard deal. We have a report on Snapchat users losing their minds over the app’s AI chatbot. Our Stat of the Week has some good news from Meta. And What’s dAppening has a report on Sotheby’s launching an NFT marketplace for fine (digital) art.

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Takes 🎬️

🟦🪂 Bluesky – Twitter Alternative Off to a Bumpy Yet Promising Start

Bluesky, the new microblogging app dubbed a potential ‘Twitter Killer’, has been available on the app stores for Android and iOS for about a week now. It is certainly not the finished article, and you can only access it via an invite (via a friend on the platform) or a waiting list. However, there are promising signs from the get-go. First, it had 375,000 downloads from the (Apple) App Store on its first day, which isn’t bad for an invite-only app. Second, a handful of celebrity users have joined up, including Chrissy Teigen and Grimes. Perhaps, more importantly, though, a lot of prominent Twitter accounts have also launched on Bluesky, and that includes a lot of journalists who have been vocally critical of Musk-era Twitter. It hasn’t been plain sailing for Bluesky, though. A lot of features are missing, it already had a 25-minute downtime for urgent upgrades last week, and it can feel a bit clunky to use. Moreover, it’s going to be interesting to see how the invite-only tactic pays off ahead of a general release. There’s already talk of invite envy from non-celebrity users, but they will have to tread carefully lest it all gets a bit elitist. As for the Twitter comparisons, well, they are valid in several senses. The app is structured like the ‘old’ Twitter, with an emphasis on short posts/tweets (users have been calling them “skeets”). Perhaps more importantly, it’s tonally like the Twitter of a decade ago, with some of the big accounts mentioning its use for news gathering and light-hearted fun rather than the angry political rhetoric that characterizes much of Twitter today. We have yet to see the official demographics, but early reports suggest a high number of users from Gen Z, and that is naturally going to lean toward a more liberal user base. As for being a Twitter Killer, we think it’s too soon to say. It’s not the first app to have been given that moniker, yet Twitter still stands tall. One of the key issues will be the use of decentralized servers to host different communities (a feature not yet rolled out). One of the reasons why Mastadon (another so-called Twitter Killer) has not truly taken off is that its system of separate community servers is just too darn confusing for many folks. So far, so good, though for Bluesky. If you don’t have a friend already on the platform, join the waitlist here. #BlueSkies Read more here.

🎮⚖️ Microsoft – UK Regulator Blocks Activision-Blizzard Takeover

Microsoft has had such a great year (largely due to its partnership with OpenAI) that it had to take an “L” at some point. This is quite a big blow, though. The UK CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has moved to block Microsoft’s $68.7 billion takeover of games publisher Activision Blizzard. That deal was agreed last year, but regulators in the US, UK, and Europe have been pushing to stop it going through. The UK has claimed that the tie-up would compromise the integrity of the cloud gaming market, pointing out that Microsoft had all the architecture (Azure, Xbox, xCloud) to control the majority of the sector to the disadvantage of rival companies and, ultimately, players. Microsoft is, in a word, furious with the decision, promising to throw everything at the CMA to force them to repeal. You may remember that it was the CMA that ordered Meta to reverse the Giphy acquisition, and both Microsoft and Activision were quick to throw shade on the UK Government, calling into question its ambitions to become a global tech hub. The fight isn’t over, but this is a huge blow to Microsoft. #NoGamesDeal Read more here.

🤖🚫 Snapchat – Not Everyone Loves AI As Users Pan New Chatbot

Over the last month, Snapchat’s average review score on the app stores has been 1.67 stars (it usually averages over 3). Moreover, the number of reviews left is up fivefold. The reason? Seemingly, it’s down to the new ChatGPT-powered chatbot, “My AI”. Now, there are dozens and dozens of different reports of why people don’t like My AI, ranging from people worried about the bot tracking their location to parents complaining that it has taught their kids how to lie. It’s all a bit wild. However, the most pressing concern for users seems to be based on where My AI is placed – right there on the top of the feed (where users interact with their friends). If you are a Snapchat Plus subscriber, you can unpin the chatbot from your feed. If you are a regular non-paying user, you can’t. If those negative star ratings keep flying in, we will bet our bottom dollar that regular users will be able to unpin it very soon. #SnapchatAI Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: 3B DAUs

📈📱 Meta – Earnings Report Shows Over 3 Billion People Using Products Daily

It’s been kind of fashionable to talk of Meta’s decline in tech circles, but we shouldn’t forget just how ubiquitous its products are. To underline that point, Meta stated in its recent quarterly earnings report that for the first time in history over 3 billion people used at least one of its products each day, with over 3.8 billion using at least one each month. Remember, Meta is effectively non-existent in China, so we are talking to almost half the population of the planet. Oh, the company beat earnings, too, growing 3% YoY. There’s life in the old dog yet. #MetaBetter Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

🧑‍⚖️🖼️ NFT’s – Sotheby’s Launches Fine Digital Art NFT Secondary Marketplace

If you’re having an argument with a buddy who maintains that NFTs can’t be ‘real’ art, maybe point them in the direction of this story. Sotheby’s – you know, the auction house that sells Monets, Manets, and Picassos – has now launched its very own NFT secondary marketplace. The marketplace is an extension of Sotheby’s metaverse, which is used to showcase its digital artworks and collectibles. Collectors will be able to buy from some of the top names in NFT art, including Tyler Hobbs and Claire Silver, who will be curated and featured on the Sotheby’s marketplace on a rotating basis. Everything is on-chain via the Ethereum and Polygon Networks, and all payments will be made in either ETH or MATIC (Polygon’s native token). No firm details on the launch date yet, but this is a huge win for those who believe in digital art. #NFTArt Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

HUGE birthday shout out to CTO, and leader of all things tech, Darren who is celebrating his birthday TODAY, 5/2! HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY, DARREN! Then next up is our Android developer Ram on the 11th, Paul on the 19th, and the wonderful Jingdi on May 20th.

Now don’t forget to check out our April recap below. Now on Youtube! You’ll also hear about our construction client TriAxle - you can check out their new podcast here, and don’t forget to follow them on Instagram

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