Getting started in diaspora*

Part 3 – Aspects

Think of your life and the people you know. Each person is a part of one or more aspects of your life. They might be a member of your family, a close friend, a work colleague or someone you play sport or music with or with whom you share a particular interest. Or they might be part of more than one of these aspects of your life.

diaspora* works in exactly the same way. You can place contacts into an “aspect” of your diaspora* seed based on which aspect of your life they are part of. In this way, you control which of your contacts sees each post you make to diaspora*, by posting to a particular aspect or aspects. We’ll explain more about what this means over the next three parts of this series.

When you sign up you are given four aspects: Family, Work, Friends and Acquaintances. Of course you will not be able to sort all of your life into just four standard aspects, so the first thing we’re going to do is to add some aspects. You can also delete the default aspects if you want to.

Click My Aspects in the left-hand column and your list of aspects will appear. To add an aspect, click + Add an aspect under the list of aspects in the left-hand column. You will be presented with a pop-up window.

Add aspect

  1. Choose a name for the new aspect. This might reflect the common connection between these people, perhaps “Creative writing,” “Football,” or “Activists;” but you can call it whatever you like. No one else will ever be able to see the names of your aspects, nor will your contacts know which aspect they are in. For this exercise, I suggest creating an aspect called “Diaspora,” into which you can place people you meet here.
  2. Decide whether to check “Make contacts in this aspect visible to each other?” This is useful if this aspect is for a club in which all the members know each other, as making them visible to each other will help them to connect with each other. However, you should use this with care, and consider other people’s privacy before doing so.
  3. When you have finished, click the Create button. The aspect is then created and selected in the menu.

Once the aspect has been created, you’ll be taken to a list of contacts in that aspect (which will be no one so far). There’s a link to “add contacts to Diaspora” (or whatever you have called your new aspect).

Next, let’s look at the My Aspects menu in the left-hand column. Get back to your stream and click My Aspects. Your list of aspects will drop down, and you’ll see a stream containing only posts made by people you have placed into whichever aspects are selected in the list.

  • Right now all your aspects should be selected, with ticks next to them.
  • You can click aspects in the menu to select or deselect them.
  • You can select just one aspect, or any combination of them.
  • If all aspects are selected and you want to view just one, click Deselect all and then select the one you want.

Why not play around with it for a few seconds?

This selection system has two uses:

  1. It filters the content stream. You might want to read only posts written by people in your Family aspect. Or you might want to read everything posted by your contacts except family members.
  2. If you post a status message from the Aspects page, the aspects selected in the left-hand menu will be automatically selected in the publisher. For example, if the Friends, Family and Work aspects are selected in the list, when you click in the publisher window you’ll see that the Aspects selector button reads “In 3 aspects.”
Aspect list

Contacts page

We mentioned your contacts page in Part 2. To get to your contacts page, click the arrow at the right-hand end of the header bar and select Contacts from the drop-down list.

The contacts page shows your aspects in the left-hand column, and your contacts in those aspects displayed on the right-hand side.

If you are displaying contacts from all aspects (click My Contacts in the left-hand column), each contact will have a green button to its right show which aspect(s) they have been placed in. If a contact is in more than one aspect, the button will read “In n aspects.” Click the button to see which aspects those are.

You can click this button to change the aspect(s) this person is in by selecting and deselecting aspects in the drop-down list. If you want to remove a person from all of your aspects, deselect all aspects and the button will turn grey. You are no longer sharing with them.

If you are viewing contacts in an individual aspect, there will be a cross to the right of each contact displayed. Clicking this will remove the person from that aspect.

You can also create new aspects from your contacts page.

Only sharing with me

This shows you a list of people who are sharing with you but with whom you are not sharing – your “followers.”

Now that you understand aspects, let’s make some connections.

Part 2 – The interface | Part 4 – Finding and connecting with people