A Fantasy Author's Adventures in Fiction & Life

Tag: bsky

Its not easy getting started on new social media platforms, getting post interactions, finding your people etc. It takes time. Then platforms with algorithms (not Blue Sky or Mastodon) tend to punish your visibility when you don’t post or interact regularly. Twitter’s death has scattered a lot of communities, some of us onto multiple platforms. Meanwhile posting and running on any platform has its own issues, which I will unpack in Avoiding Social Media Burnout.

In your quest to seek your communities, interact personally and freely promote your books/ art/ products; are you paying enough attention to each platform’s usability, personal fit and comfort? I’ll unpack these factors to help you select platforms to ditch, to assist in avoiding social media burnout.

Because; do you actually need to be on SO MANY platforms? Can you integrate your creative and personal pursuits onto a smaller number of platforms where you engage more often, more meaningfully and are actively part of the communities you seek? I’ll offer suggestions on platforms where this can be effectively achieved as well.

I know, especially with the Twitter Writing diaspora (no this post isn’t dated, I reject the name change), its easy to get FOMO. To wonder about creatives and people you’re not connecting with or reaching on other social media platforms. So some people use an app to schedule posts on multiple social media, more than they have time or energy to interact on, which has its own problems.

I hope you don’t use an app which auto-posts: ‘I just posted on Insta’ or ‘just pinned (whatever) on Pinterest…’ because I’ve unfollowed people for that. If I follow you on Blue Sky (Bsky) or Mastodon, its because I want to see your Bsky or Mastodon content.

Then there’s the issue of audience differences. I prefer to manually post on Bsky/ Mastodon and Facebook. My FB is mostly people I’ve known personally from all walks of life, including far less people from the diverse communities I interact in on Bsky. So if I scheduled the same posts for Bsky and Facebook, they would resonate with my Bsky community, but not my FB contacts, or vice versa, OR compromise too much and not resonate with either.

And that’s not the biggest problem.

Sure, there will always be those kind people who like and comment on your post, even when you don’t reply or even like their comments (I’ve seen it happen).

The problem with posting and running is it feels like rockstar status. Like you’re saying, “I’ve got things to do (as if my followers don’t). I want engagement from you and I’ll give you nothing/ little in return.” Alternatively “I think my time is worth more than yours.”

I don’t expect any writer/ creative to be Neil Gaiman on Bsky (how much that guy posts but also interacts with other people’s posts is AMAZING! When does he even write?!) But when Neil Gaiman interacts with his followers and others don’t (I don’t just mean life gets busy so you disappear or are hardly present for a bit, I mean post and run is your modus operendi) it feels like snobbery.

If people comment on your posts and you don’t reply, it will feel to them that you’re not really there. Like you’re talking at them, but not listening to them. You’ve taken the ‘social’ out of social media. So why follow you on that platform?

Which brings me to, if you’re on more platforms than you have time to connect with others on, if all you’re doing is posting and running… does that build a following?

Sure, there are people who post frequently, have interesting things to say and gain lots of followers. I follow one on Blue Sky who posts multiple times a night on multiple topics, in such a way that many people feel a connection to him. He’s also entertaining and has an unusually large number of followers for Bsky. (And I bet its his main platform, which he gives most of his social media time and energy to).

But most of us don’t present in ways lots of people frequently feel so connected to. Its people who feel like they know me who tend to regularly interact with my social media posts. And while they may feel that from reading my posts often, they get to know me far better if we talk to each other. That’s what gets me the most engagement.

So if you’re posting and running, do people feel like they know you on that platform? Do they connect with what you’re saying? Do they interact with you? Or are you shouting into the void? And if so, would letting those accounts go dormant (or deleting them) lose anything? Or would it gain you time and energy/ spoons for other things?

As an indie author, I took the advice to be where my readers are. I tried to post there more often than once in a blue moon when it wasn’t somewhere I didn’t have the motivation, time or spoons to interact. And I learned that reciprocity is important to me not just as a writer and author, but as a social media user.

I don’t want to post and run. I don’t want to be that person who’s always taking and never gives anything back. Who wants engagement and interaction but never returns it.

Learning this about myself made it much easier to decide to let my Tik Tok and Instagram accounts become dormant, to only use my Pinterest to pin a link to my latest blog and to mainly interact on my Blue Sky and Mastodon accounts. I just have a Facebook profile for anyone who isn’t on the former two (because I hate the fan-style set up of FB pages).

But if you are comfortable interacting only with those who reply to you or posting and running…

This can get overlooked among the ‘be where your readers are’ advice and the temptation to be everywhere to ‘reach as many readers as possible’.

This is a simple way to cut down your platform presence.

At one point I had writer groups on Facebook. It was clunky and disorganised. Posts didn’t display in chronological order. The display order of posts kept changing. It wasn’t easy to organise by topic. I found myself not wanting to interact in FB groups I created, because every time I did they frustrated my impatience to interact swiftly and effectively.

So when Facebook shut down Australian community groups without warning during a 2020 lockdown and I moved my writer groups to Discord and found it had ten times better functionally, I all but stopped using Facebook to interact with writers.

When it comes to usability, is there a platform where the notifications, functionality, layout, the way posts are organised (or totally disorganised) frustrates you? That makes things more time-consuming to use?
How much frustration does it cause you or how much of your time does it take up across a day, a week, a month? Is it worth it?

(On these grounds alone, Twitter was a monumental waste of my time by mid 2023 and its dis-functionality was right up there with its antisemitism in driving me to Mastodon and Blue Sky.)

I liked the idea of Instagram. I enjoy travel and nature photography and sometimes write poems. Its also popular with the target audience of my YA Fantasy books: fifteen to forty-somethings (I don’t think YA readership stops at forty, though I know far less fifty-something+ are on Insta). In theory it was a good place to promote my writing and have a social media presence.

But Insta never worked out for me. Posts were bigger and took longer to scroll than my preferred text-based platforms. The algorithms showed me populist posts instead of people I actually knew socially, or fellow writers. The relentless plague of bots commenting on my bookish posts and spamming my inbox was ANNOYING. And I’m still convinced half my followers are men treating Instagram as a dating app…

Then Insta started imitating Twitter with blue tick offers, increased ads and populist post and follow suggestions clogging my feed. This was a feed I wasn’t going to interact on because it just didn’t fit me. It was my post and run platform. And every time the algorithms changed, my posts got seen by less people and slowly dropped from an average of 40 likes to around 15.

I thought, what’s the point? I’m not going to reach readers here anyway. I could use the time and energy I spend on Insta writing my newsletter or blog… even my books! So I let my Insta go dormant.

Avoiding Social Media Burnout (For Writers/ Creatives)

Do you have a platform you feel the same way about? What could you achieve for your books/ art/ newsletter/ blog/ business if you ditched that platform?

Sometimes, the place your readers/ viewers/ customers hang out ISN’T a good place for you. I don’t just mean you find it tricky or aren’t too sure how the platform works. I mean you’re there because you feel you ‘should’ be and are fighting that little voice in your head telling you ‘this is UN-comfortable.’

For me, this is Tik Tok. I write YA Fantasy. Book Tok sells books. I ‘should’ be on Tik Tok. But my Tik Tok feed is to my ADHD like someone running their nails down a blackboard nonstop. Its audio and visual sensory overload. Its also constant change and unpredictability because every few seconds its a different person/ place/ colours/ sounds/ music/ volume level etc. Tik Tok is sensory HELL for my neurodiverse needs.

Because of the above I have zero desire to interact on Tik Tok. I could just post book promo videos there. Maybe a few author friends would be generous and interact with me even though I never interact with them. Maybe on the right hashtags and with the right sounds my videos would sell some books.

I did make a few personal videos (because I hate just being salesy anywhere). I paid my cover artist to make one animated book cover and reviews video. Then I lost interest, motivation, spoons, time and didn’t go back.

If you’ve got that account your readers hang out on and you ‘should’ be on but you don’t feel comfortable or dislike the platform, maybe the best thing for your comfort/ energy levels/ not spreading yourself too thin is to let that account go.

If you don’t approve of hate speech, you wouldn’t want to give it the thumbs up by having an account on a social media platform that enables hate speech, would you?
So have you deleted your Twitter yet?
If not, please read ‘Delete your Twitter’ below. (Yes, its more sympathetic than what I wrote above).

You may also want to consider social media platforms where misinformation is rife, given how that can fuel social division, the climate crisis, maintain the status quo by keeping marginalised communities and people marginalised, etc.

Tik Tok may give you pause because of its Chinese ownership and China and human rights…

For more on my personal stance on Twitter, Facebook (and KU/ Amazon) ethics, see Author Ethical Dilemmas.

I assume you were on social media before you had books/ art/ products to sell. That you partly use social media to interact with friends and family, with fellow creatives and possibly with groups who share your interests or facets of your identity. So in this next section I’ll talk about social media spaces that meet your social, personal AND indie needs. Those are the ones I suggest prioritising with most of your time and energy/ spoons.

Let’s say for example you’re a SciFi nerd and you’re on Tumblr for that. Or you love bird watching and follow FB groups for that. Or like me you’re queer, neurodiverse, chronically ill or otherwise disabled. Let’s say sharing life experiences in those communities is affirming, informative and beneficial to your wellbeing.

But communities and interests can be on different platforms, which spread you thin and can wear you out. So where can you integrate your interests, social groups and personal interactions?

The Old School option was Facebook profile to interact with friends/ family, and FB groups for writers, other communities and your interests plus your author Facebook page. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not fond of Facebook functionally or ethically. Technically I’m still in FB groups for writers (I almost never look at them) and Wide for the Win as an author (I always mean to look at that more —on its own platform).

But if you are a FB user, it does integrates lots of groups and interests in one space (and likely a lot of your personal contacts if you’re Gen Y or older.) Limiting yourself to it (and few others) is an effective way to avoid social media over-stretching and burn out (and time suck).

I love Blue Sky because I can connect with writers, get and give writerly and authorly advice, help others AND do the same things as a neurodiverse, queer and chronically ill person. I can check in on the latest news, the latest archaeological discoveries, find historical articles, its all there in one place. Individual posts are even organised topically so I can browse feeds by topics that interest me. And it hosts Twitter’s writer chats (see my Bsky Newby guide for details).

Bsky can integrate your interests and communities (in my opinion with better functionality and organisation than Facebook) —and without Musk or Zuckerberg! These are some of multiple reasons its my favourite social media.

From what I understand, Reddit is another good option to engage with particular interests and topics. It also categorises posts and includes categories you can share shorts, poetry etc in to build your audience on social media.

Yes, you could browse Twitter or Instagram, or Mastodon or I don’t know what else by hashtags to explore your interests. In my experience (of Twitter) people often forgot to use relevant hashtags in their posts, or they overused them (especially on Instagram) and this is not nearly as effective in connecting with your people as Facebook groups, Blue Sky Feeds or what I’ve heard of Reddit.

But if Instagram or Mastodon are where you personally connect with people, your creative community (via Mastodon prompt hashtags or Instagram challenges), and where your other interests and communities are; by all means connect there by hashtag. And make either your main social media base that gets most of your time and energy (bonus if it fits where your readers hang out!)

In the author interviews I’ve done (all linked on this page), ‘build your writing community and do it early’ or ‘I wish I’d done it sooner’ is something writers say A LOT. So in prioritising social media platforms, the first question I suggest you ask is; where is my creative/ writing community?

If it’s always been in Facebook groups or on Instagram, this is easy to answer, and I’d stay active in your community. But if your community used to be Twitter…

The time has long passed to beat around the bush about this.

I had 16k Twitter followers. I introduced writers to each other by genre. I critiqued pitches, ran query letter and Pitch Party DM groups. Then I started an Author Platform DM group, an SFF one, a Querying Writers DM (then moved them all to Discord).

Twitter’s #WritingCommunity was my home and I knew literally hundreds of writers by name and could tell you off the top of my head what genre tens of them wrote. But everything I loved about Twitter’s #WritingCommunity was already dying when Musk started breaking Twitter.

We’re not uncertain what kind of transphobia-promoting, fascist-enabling hellhole Twitter could become. [Twitter’s safety measure cuts are now documented, as are statistics on hate speech tweets not being removed and people not being banned for tweeting them. Spoiler, the latter statistic is ZERO)]. We’re also in no doubt how many staff will be sacked and how dysfunctional and unusable the site will become.

Twitter is dead.

True, by leaving, I lost friends (who didn’t go to Blue sky/ Mastodon/ Facebook/ Discord) and that’s sad. I hope they’ll become active on Blue Sky or Discord one day. But I haven’t regretted deleting my account or departing a discrimination-enabling, rage-bating platform once.

Let it go and move on —preferably before fascists start seeing your continued presence as support of their beliefs.

By now you’ve either settled into algorithm-less Mastodon, or found it not a close enough clone of Twitter (writers, check out #WritersCoffeeClub if you’re still settling there -that’s where the #WritingCommunity is!). Or you’re feeling more comfortable on algorithm-less Blue Sky or on Threads. Or you’ve settled on Discords or into Instagram’s creative communities.

Have you noticed how hard it can be settling into one creative/ writing community? Building connections among creatives in one space? This is why I suggest sticking to ONE main creative community on ONE platform. Go there with your experiences, questions, learnings, random thoughts, memes —everything. Let fellow creatives get to know you and get to know them. Make friends and build ONE proper creative community.

Ideally, do it on the social media with your queer community, your bird watching community, your BIPOC community, your personal contacts —to minimise your platform spread, build strong connections and get the most out of the time, energy and spoons you invest in social media.

I’m active almost daily on Blue Sky AND Mastodon. Its do-able because Mastodon’s writer prompts give me a topic to talk about and other people’s responses to interact with on the same hashtag. It makes getting to know and meaningfully interact with a group of writers effortless (and when time’s short I skip Bsky that day or do two day’s Mastodon prompts the next day).

Discord or Facebook may be like this for you. You go in to the group —and on Discord go to the topically relevant channel— ask your question and get it answered. Or you look at what other people are saying (again on specific topic channels that interest you on your choice of Discord servers) and reply —when it suits you to do so.

If you get what you want from the platform quickly and easily, as rarely or as often as you want WITHOUT putting much time, effort or energy into it, you may find Mastodon/ Discord/ FB Groups sustainable —on the side of your main creative community.

Ideally you’ve got ideas on where you can interact as an author/ artist/ other creative and person and with your creative community and potential readers/ viewers/ consumers on one or across two, possibly three platforms.

I’m not saying necessarily delete everything else (exception Twitter). Consider what I did on Instagram: say you’re going elsewhere, leave links for people to find you and let the account go dormant. That way anyone who finds it can connect with you where you’re maximising and integrating your social media presence.

And if they don’t?
I wonder how many more people you’ll reach on the few platforms you make your online homes, by being present, by effectively connecting and being a part of the community. Good luck!

Blue edged, pink, orange and yellow rainbow scroll with text: Get blogs in your inbox & updates from Elise every second month. Join my Fiction Frolics. Select this image to learn more.

Related Reading/ Links Shared Above

My Writer Discords

Blue Sky Newby Guide

Social Media For Writers (general platform introduction —don’t forget this blog’s advice!)

Twitter, KU & Author Ethical Decisions

Becoming an Indie Author

Author Newsletters

I know, you’ve spent years making connections and finding your niche/ building community on Twitter, then Musk bought it and history happened. In this BlueSky Newby Guide, I’ll go through what features Bsky has and doesn’t have (yet), profile set up, using feeds to find your people and interacting tips.

Not another NEW Platform!?

Blue Sky (bsky) is basically Twitter. Look at my Bsky dashboard (below). It’s VERY similar. The general differences with Bsky include no algorithms, no sponsored ads, no trending topics (very little rage baiting), alt text is encouraged, and transphobes ARE NOT WELCOME —nor are fascists. (I rarely see either complaining no one will debate other people’s right to human rights with them because like most Bsky users —I’ve blocked them).

Getting Started: Profile Set Up

Be sure to fill in your bio so we know you’re not a bot. If you can find space, consider including alt text for your cover photo, as Bsky doesn’t have that option on the cover image itself (yet). Cover photos don’t tend to crop well. I ended up shrinking my covers on a larger background on Canva and uploading to Bsky multiple times, using trial and error to get this fit.

Bsky profile, with menu left, cover image of 'Ruarnon Trilogy' with 4 book covers against a dark sand dune and starry sky.Profile pic of Elise inset.Elise (they/them) *rainbow and 3 books emoji* Celebrating a book Launch!Elise's bio: Epic YA Fantasy Author. Teacher. AroAce, ND, chronically ill enby.
???????? *Aussie* on Wurundjeri country.
#IndieAuthorChat
host*rainbow, 3 books* ????????Fantasy Books elisecarlson.comIndie *3 books* ????Launch Support Discord: bit.ly/3vFvXGiNewSky Guide: bit.ly/BskyGuide

You’ll note my bio gets personal. I’m openly nonbinary, neurodiverse and chronically ill, and happy to present publicly as such and to discuss all three to raise awareness. Don’t feel you owe anyone this information. But do consider including your traits, interests etc —things you will post about, that will help your people recognise you as their people.

No Pinned Posts (Yet), So Instead…

Bsky doesn’t have pinned posts. If you normally have images, links or other in pinned, try to get them into your cover image and bio instead. As an indie author my pinned post is normally book one in my series, with a description or teaser and cover. So my cover photo is my book covers, and my bio explicitly states that I write epic YA fantasy. I’ve also included a link to the books page of my website.

(I don’t use Linktree because it looks like decision paralysis to me. And the advantage of my site page over BooksToRead is I can link my books on Goodreads, Storygraph and Bookbub, as well as stores and subscription services. And by linking my site —my site gets the SEO boost, and its still easy for people to browse my blog or sign up to my author newsletter.)

First/ Intro Post

Not everyone you knew on Twitter will be on Bsky, and some people on Bsky never had a Twitter account. There will be people in whichever communities, interest groups or fandoms you’re part of whom you don’t yet know. So assume we don’t know you, tell us who you’d like to hang out with in your intro post and maybe give us a question to answer. For example, my intro post is below.

BlueSky PostText: Hello BlueSky! Where are my fellow #Fantasy/ #SFF/ #IndieAuthors/ poets? Pantsers? Fellow queer and or ND people? Aussies?I'm all of the above, and writing my third epic YA Fantasy set beneath sorcerous skies, where a continent-wide war is brewing. Happy to talk all things writerly/ authorly!

Why bother? So when more of us know who you are, have interacted with you in a digital ‘meeting each other’ way and are more likely to interact with your posts.

Finding Your People: Following

The tried and tested method so far has been find your mutuals by looking at who friends you’ve found are following.
If you’re a writer and you knew me on Twitter, I’ve linked as many writer friends as I could by their Insta and Bsky handles and by genre, identity, country on this (view-only, master) spreadsheet. If you’re a writer and would like to be added, you can link your bsky handle in appropriate categories on this editable spreadsheet and I’ll paste them over to the master.

Finding Your People: Feeds

Bsky vertical menu
Text: search, Follow, OnlyPosts, Aussie Feed, Australian Media, Aussie & Kiwi Writers, Writerly & Authorly Posts (etc). More Feeds.

I won’t give advice on general posting yet. Because to understand post visibility, you need to understand how posts are organised on Bsky. You have many options in another menu in your profile here (right/ below). You’ll have a feed of everyone you’re following. Under that, you can pin feeds of any topic or community you wish to see (and ‘Only Posts’ which filters out reposts and replies of your followers, showing only organic posts).
Posts are displayed on feeds if they include the keywords or emojis described a the feed’s description.

Adding Feeds

So how do you find feeds displaying posts you might want to see, or get your posts displayed on?

1.Under the feed menu (pictured right/ below), select ‘more feeds’. That will display this menu.

2. Enter topics that interest you in the search bar.

3. To add a feed to your feed menu, select the plus symbol. (Select the bin to remove a feed from your menu if you change your mind).

Text: Discover new feeds, Search.
Two hands making a heart symbol beside: For You. Plus symbol (right).
Blye square with white flame on. What's Hot Classic, bin (right).

My Favourite Feeds

Writing Feeds

Writing & Authoring: picks up: ‘writer(s)’, ‘author(s), *hand holding pencil emoji* ‘(#Am)writing(community)’ by me.

SFF Writing -Fantasy, SciFi, general SFF and writing/ editing/ writer/ author, or *trident emoji* by me.

Writing Prompts – #vss365, #vsspoem, #whistpr, #mpotd and other vss by Helen Whistberry.

Querying Writers, by me.

Indie Author Life
by @larisa-a-white.bsky.social, whom you’ll need to ask to add you.

Book Sky

BookSky:
Posts with *blue heart & 3 books emoji*

Diverse Books
Posts with: *globe with the Americas & 3 books emoji*

SFF Books: Posts with Fantasy/ SciFi, SFF etc.

Queer Bookworms
Posts with *rainbow emoji & 3 books emoji*

Queer SFF
Posts with *rainbow, rocket & shooting star emoji*
(Or keyword combos, see its description).

Trans Books: Posts with #TransBooks365

Aussie Feed

Aussie Feed posts naming Australia or its capital cities.

LGBTQIA+ Feeds

LGBTQIA+ Posts picks up LGBTQIA+ and most queer identify words by me.

Asexual Spectrum picks up asexual, aromantic, aroace, asexuality, *a black & a purple heart emoji* etc. by me.

GenderQueer: picks up genderqueer, genderfluid, nonbinary etc, by @plutopsyche.nicomaramckay.com.

Disability Feeds

Neurodiversity: all ND posts.

AuDHD, ADHD & Autism posts and quote reposts.

Chronic Illness

Disability

Writer/ Wip Chats

These are just getting started. I’ll try to add more as they arrive.

Daily
#WIPSnips by Rosie J. Potter invites you to share a passage from your wip containing its prompt word.

#SmoreWords created by CK Knight and run by Daniel Aegan and Jude Graves invites you to respond to daily prompts about your wip.

Weekly

#KidLitChat by Bonnie Adamson
Open to Kidlit writers
Tuesdays: 9pm EST.
The chat is one question weekly posted by this account.
It looks like participation is by replying directly to that post, on the chat hashtag.

#HorrorWritersChat by Matt Mason
Open to horror writers
Wednesday: 7pm GMT.

#MomsWritersClub hosted by Sarah Read and Jess.
Open to writers who are ‘Moms, furball moms, other parental units, people who have moms… as long as you’re kind’
Wednesdays

#WeekNightWriters by Dianna Gunn
Open to all writers.
Thursday: 7-8pm EST

#WowChat by Talli Morgan
Open to all writers.
Friday: 7-8pm EST. Discontinued? (Hasn’t run for two months).

#SFFChat by C.J Subko
Open to SFF writers
Friday: 2pm CST (Aussie Sat EST 7am) Fortnight or weekly TBC. Same format as above.

#WITD by Payne Sillavan
Open to all writers, some prompts having a dark/ horror leaning angle. Same format as above.
Friday: 5pm central. Paused, possibly discontinued.

#LateNightWrite hosted alternately by Blackbird and Jo Bruehler
Open to all writers.
Saturday: 10pm central/ (Sun 2pm Aussie EST summer time). This chat has its own feed.

#MiddeGrade Chat by Ros Dando
Sunday: 5pm GST, for MG writers. Paused for 5 months. Discontinued?

Following Feed -Making it Easy to View

Your Following/ Home feed automatically displays posts by people you follow AND all replies to those posts AND everyone you follows reposts. If this is too much, you have a few options.

  1. Go to ‘settings’
  2. Select ‘Home Feed preferences’.
    Here you decide whether to see or hide all replies, to only display replies by people you follow, or to remove all reposts from your feed.
  3. Select right for ‘no’, left for ‘yes’ to change any of these 3 settings.
  4. Select ‘Done’ (blue button at the bottom).
Home Feed Preferences.
Show Replies (ser to 'No' to hide all replies.
Blue toggle button beside 'Yes'.
Reply Filters.
Enable this setting to only see replies by people you follow.
Grey toggle button beside Followed users only.
Adjust the number of likes a reply must have to be shown on your feed.
Blue toggle button beside 'show all replies.'
Show Reposts
Set this setting to 'no' to hide all reposts from your feed.
Blue toggle button beside 'yes.'

Following Feed Display -Content

Another thing about settings is it will default to not displaying adult content, which includes sexual content, violence, nudity (yes, a happy snap of a woman showing some cleavage will be censored as nudity), hate groups, suspected impersonation and spam. There are harmless emojis I can’t see in my followers posts because I can’t work out which setting in Adult Content Settings is bothered by it. So if you’d like to see things rated anything above G by Bsky:

  1. Select ‘Moderation’ (the handle symbol in your main menu, above settings)
  2. Select ‘Content Filtering’ and ‘hide,’ ‘warn’ or show to suit your preferences.

Posting & Getting Seen (Feeds, not Hashtags)

You’ve got 300 characters to play with. So how do you get your posts seen by your people? Hashtags don’t work the way you’re used to. You can select them to see a feed of what people are posting on them, but they don’t impact your visibility via algorithm.

Keywords (and sometimes emojis) are more likely to get your posts onto topically relevant feeds (only older feeds pick up hashtags specifically), with the exception of chat hashtags (tags for prompts posted regularly that have moved to Bsky from Twitter).

1. Go back to feeds you added above,

2. Select the 3 dots (top right of the feed name).

3. Select ‘about this feed’.

4. Check which keywords and emojis get your posts displayed on that feed.

5. Use any combination of relevant keywords/ emojis on your post to put it on multiple relevant feeds.

Note: you can put pairs of emojis ‘back-to-front’ and they still display on that feed.

Writer/ Author/ Book Visibility

Writers, our main key words are: writer(s), author(s), and any words containing ‘writing’ (this includes WritingCommunity, etc).
Book Feeds: see links under ‘Book Sky’ and ‘My Favourite Feeds’ above.

Alt Text

Alt text is big on Bsky. We want all users to enjoy content posted. If you tend to forget to add alt text to images in your posts, good news —you can adjust your settings so Bsky will not let you hit ‘post’ till you’ve added alt text.

1. Go to ‘Settings’
2. Accessibility (forth option down)
3. Flip the toggle beside ‘require alt text before posting’ to blue.

Sharing Links in Posts

If you paste a link into a post, a little box will appear saying, ‘add link card’. Selecting this will add a link card. Then you can delete the link text from your post, saving characters.
Be warned, if the link makes your post exceed the 300 character limit, Bsky may cut off characters over the limit, breaking the link. So always check your complete link has pasted.

NB: there are no algorithms on Bsky, so unlike on Twitter, posts containing links will not be penalised and are just as visible.

Bsky Lists

This is a new function that looks like feeds, but has key differences. Its a better way to display posts of and stay in touch with people you know, as opposed to following feeds by topic.

Differences With Lists:
-List Feeds don’t pick up posts by keyword.
-List feeds display only, but also all posts of people added to the list.
-You can create your own lists within Bsky (in the same menu that lets you post, view feeds, etc).
-You can add people to lists (go to that person’s profile and hit the 3 dots next to the ‘follow’ button for a menu to do this).
-The ‘about’ section of a list displays the profiles of every account that has been added to that list.

My Lists

I’ve made A LOT of lists. The screenshot below is a menu for them, and every list is linked into that thread. You can also view all of my lists by visiting my profile and looking at the menu under my bio (‘lists’ is on the right end).

If you’d like to be added to any of my lists, let me know by replying to my post below by selecting it.

Emoji flags or relevant symbols beside each keyword describing Elise's Lists:
????????Aussie
????????Kiwi
????????Uk
????????Euro
????????Merican
????????Canada????️‍????LGBTQIA+
Neurospicy
♿Disabled/Chronic illness✍️Writers
????Fantasy
????SciFi
????SFF
????Horror/Dark
????️Historic
????‍????‍????KidLit
Poets
????️Mystery/Thrill????Indie Authors
????️‍????Queer Rep/Romance/Themes
????SFF: trans, enby, asexual,????️‍????
BIPOC
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Functions That Don’t Exist (yet) & Suggested Alternatives

No AlgorithmsRepost

Likes have no impact on visibility. Re-post just shares posts with whoever of the reposter’s followers is on their feed at that time. I’ve found this means my posts get the most interaction in their first 3 hours (if America is awake then). Early Aussie afternoons, when America and Europe are sleeping (except the night owls) tend to be VERY quiet.
I doubt this will change, so if you see a post you think is helpful/ enjoyable etc -repost it to your followers! This is our main way for anything worth seeing to get seen —and if you quote repost with topical words, (add a comment to the repost) this will often repost to feeds too).

Pinned Posts -Jam it in your Bio

Whatever doesn’t fit into your bio has no real alternative to a pinned post (yet). This seems to be why when I arrived on Bsky there was a big trend of re-intro posts, as people’s original intros got buried below other posts on their profiles.

Bookmarking PostsRepost

As there isn’t an option for bookmarking (yet), the only thing to do to have a copy somewhere of posts you may normally bookmark is to repost them to your profile (which helped me add chats and feeds to this blog 😉 ). Long term, you’ll have to link posts elsewhere. (I link them in my writer Discords).

Direct Messages

There is no Bsky alternative for this (yet). Many of us tend to use Discord for direct messaging, or group private conversations, which, like Bsky, has the advantage of not being owned by Musk or Zuckerberg.

Ask Bsky Developers For Functions

There’s a ‘send feedback’ link on your profile (mine displays under my feed’s menu on computer). Selecting that lets you fill in a form to ‘make product suggestions.’ I’ve already made my case for adding pinned posts and requested bookmarks, so we can store things we want to refer back to, without those posts getting buried.

I hope this is all helpful as you get started. Welcome to Bsky!

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