Getting started

Part 2 – The interface


You’re now looking at an unfamiliar interface. (If you’re still on the profile edit page, click the asterisk logo or Stream in the top left of the screen.) Let’s have a quick look at the layout and start to get familiar with it.

The main interface can be divided into four parts.

Because of the decentralized and open-source nature of diaspora*, it is possible for pod administrators to customize their pods. Therefore, depending on which pod you’re on, the interface might look very slightly different to how it’s described here. However, the essential elements should all be present, even if they are arranged slightly differently.

At the top of the screen is the header bar, which always remains in place, even when you scroll down the page. This header bar contains:

  1. the diaspora* logo, which takes you back to the stream page;
  2. links to your Stream and My Activity pages;
  3. a notifications icon (we’ll cover this in Part 6);
  4. a conversations icon (also covered in Part 6);
  5. the search bar (more about this in Part 4)
  6. a personal drop-down menu (more about this in Part 7) with:
    • a link to your profile page;
    • a link to your contacts list;
    • a link to your account settings page;
    • a log out button.

Beneath the header there are three columns:


  • On the left you’ll see your profile photo and screen name, and then links to the different content views available in diaspora*: My Activity, @Mentions, Stream, My Aspects and #Followed Tags. We’ll explain a bit more about these below.
  • The centre column contains the content stream with a "publisher" box at the top. We’ll cover these in Part 4 of this tutorial.
  • On the right are profile icons of the people whose posts appear in your stream as well as some links to help you invite your friends, welcome new users, find help, post to diaspora* from the rest of the web (the diaspora* "bookmarklet") and on some pods, contact information for the pod’s administrator. (Note: on some pods the left- and right-hand columns are merged and placed either on the left or the right.)

The different views available in diaspora* are:

The stream

The stream is your home page in diaspora*. It aggregates all the posts available to you. That is:

  1. Posts made by your contacts;
  2. Public posts made containing #tags you follow;
  3. Posts that @mention you.

Posts in the stream are ordered according to the time of the original post.

My Activity

Your My Activity stream shows any posts which you have either liked or commented on. This is a useful way of catching up on any interactions you’ve been having in diaspora*. Posts in My Activity are ordered according to the latest activity (comment or like) on each post.


This lists any posts made by other people @mentioning you. We’ll discuss them in Part 4.

My Aspects

My Aspects displays all posts made by all the people with whom you are sharing – that is, the people you have placed into your aspects.

Click on My Aspects to see the list of your aspects. You can view posts made to all aspects, or just to one or more individual aspects, by selecting and deselecting them in the left-hand column. We’ll discuss aspects more in Part 3.

#Followed #tags

This view displays all available posts (public posts and limited posts made to aspects you have been placed in) containing tags you follow. We’ll look at tags in more detail in Part 5.

Click #Followed Tags to view the list of your tags. Like My Aspects, you can filter this stream to show posts containing one or more tags by selecting and deselecting them in the left-hand column.

Profile view

Clicking your name or profile photo anywhere you see it takes you to your profile page. This shows you all the posts you have made in diaspora*. It also displays your profile photo, screen name, "about me" tags and your diaspora* ID (discussed under "Registration" in Part 1).

Under your profile photo you’ll see any private profile information you have added, such as birthday, location, gender, biography and so on.

Click the blue Edit my profile button if you want to change any of your profile information.

You can also view someone else’s profile page by clicking their name or picture. How much of a person’s profile information and posts are made available to you depends on your connection with them. At the top right you’ll find an aspects button: grey if the person is not in one of your aspects; green if they are. Click it to add them to an aspect.

Underneath their profile photo you’ll see an icon bar: grey (with a circle) if they’re not sharing with you, green (with a ✓) if they are. If you have mutual sharing with that person, the bar will contain @Mention and Message icons. The last icon blocks that user from your stream.

Users actually have a photos page, showing all the photos that have been uploaded and included in their status messages. It’s not obvious, but you can access the page by clicking the profile picture of a contact (including yourself) on their profile page.


That’s all you need to know about the interface for now. The first thing you will want to do is finding some people to start sharing with. However, before we get to that, let’s focus on something that features prominently throughout diaspora*: aspects.


Part 1: Signing up | Part 3: Aspects