All about the Diaspora* social network

Part III – Follows and Followers

In the previous part of this tutorial we have seen some basic functionality of aspects. In this part we are going to add some contacts to our aspects so that we can start sharing content in the next part.

On Diaspora there are three types of relations between users:

  • A follow is a person whom you are following. In order to follow a person you will have to add them to one or more of your aspects. The person will get access to your aspect(s) and you will automatically start following their public posts.
  • A follower is a person who is following you. Followers are created automatically when a person adds you to one or more of their aspects. They will start following your public posts and you get to see their shared aspect.
  • When you and another person are following each other, we talk about mutual followers. This can be compared to being Facebook “friends”. Just like on Twitter, you need to be “mutual followers” in order to use certain features.

In order to get some contacts we will have to start following some people and hope they will follow us back.

Creating Follows

There are multiple ways to find someone and add them to an aspect.


Lets start with the search functionality. You can find the search field in the header, just above your aspects. Here you can type a name or Diaspora ID to search for. Hit enter to search and you will land on a page with results. Now go find the person you are looking for. When you have found them, click “Add to aspect”.

A drop down menu will appear in which you can select the aspect(s) which you want to add the person to. You can also decide to create a new aspect and invite them directly to it. Once you select one or more aspects, the aspect button will turn green and you will instantly start sharing those aspects with the person while at the same time you will start following their public posts.

Another way to assign aspects to a person is by clicking the name of the person. This will take you to their profile page, from where you will be able to add them to aspects using the same system in the top right corner of the page.


You may or may not have a Facebook account. If you do, then finding friends may have just become a lot easier. You can simply get an overview of friends already on Diaspora and friends that can yet be tricked into starting to use Diaspora. To have a look at your Facebook friends, click “From Facebook” in the menu on the right. This will take you to an overview of your Facebook friends.

The screen will tell you exactly whom of them are already using Diaspora. Those who are already on Diaspora can be assigned an aspect directly, just like when searching manually. Those who are not yet on Diaspora can be invited through Facebook by one simple click. This will take you to the Facebook Messages page where it will print a message with an invitation addressed to your friend. You will be automatically following them as soon as they sign up.

Sending an invitation mail

Another way to follow a friend is by sending them an invitation mail. This can be done through the “by mail” link in the menu on the right. As soon as your friend accepts the invite, they will be going through the same process you just have.

Featured users

The above three options all focus on connecting to people you already know. But sometimes strangers are as interesting, if not more interesting, than your real-life friends. Diaspora has the coolest strangers short listed for you on the “Featured users” page, which you can access by clicking the “Contacts” icon in the header and browsing the menu on the left.

Becoming Mutual Followers

You now know how to start following people. When they start following you back you will be mutual followers, which is the same as being friends or contacts on other social networks.

However, there may as well be people already following you whom you are not following yet! A list of people whom are sharing with you but whom you are not sharing back with, can be found on the contacts page. To share back with them and become mutual followers, add them to some aspects in the same way you add other people, by selecting aspects in the drop down menu.

Hopefully we now have some people listening to us. Lets go ahead and start sharing some actual content! :D


Part II: Interface & Aspects | Part IV: Start sharing!