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Getting started with Damus: a censorship-resistant, Nostr social media app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Nostr (Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays) is an open-source protocol that enables decentralized and censorship-resistant social media without relying on a central authority.

Damus is a popular client for interacting with the Nostr protocol that’s available on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS (the latest Macs with the M series of chips.)

This post will show you how to set up a Nostr account in Damus and start using the app.

Creating your account

1. Visit the Damus website and download the Damus app.

2. Open the app and select Create Account.

3. Read the EULA and if you’re happy with them, click or tap Accept.

4. Enter a username.

5. If you want to enter a display name, upload a profile pic, or add information about your account, enter it in the relevant fields.

6. Click or tap Create.

7. Copy your Public Key and save it somewhere. This key is similar to a username and can be shared with people that you want to follow your Nostr account.

8. Copy your Private Key and save it somewhere secure such as a password manager or an encrypted drive. This key is like a password and can be used to log in to your Nostr account. However, it can’t be changed or recovered so you need to keep it safe and for your eyes only.

9. Click or tap Let’s go!

10. Choose whether you want to receive Damus notifications.

That’s it. Your Nostr account has been created and is ready to use.

Using Damus

Damus has a Twitter-like interface and most of its features are similar. The bottom menu lets you quickly navigate between Damus’s four main feeds which are:

  • Home: The main feed which contains posts from the accounts you follow and lets you post new content.
  • DMs: A page that shows your DMs and Requests. All DMs in Damus are end-to-end encrypted.
  • Universe: A feed that’s similar to Twitter’s Explore tab and contains posts from other Nostr users.
  • Notifications: A feed that shows your Mentions and Zaps (tips).

The top left profile pic icon on each of the main feeds lets you access and customize your profile and see other information and settings.

Every account on Damus has buttons that let you Zap, DM, or Follow the account. There’s also a menu to Share, Report, or Mute┬áthe account.

Every post on Damus has buttons that let you reply to, repost, like, Zap, or share the post. There’s also a menu that contains several additional actions.

Finding accounts to follow

Damus will automatically follow some accounts when you create your account. There are two main ways to find new accounts to follow: search for the specific accounts that you want to follow or browse the accounts that are highlighted in Damus.

Searching for accounts to follow

Since Nostr is decentralized, clients such as Damus can only search the relays (data sources) that they’re connected to. Therefore, searching a Nostr directory such as Nostr.Band is a good way to find the user you’re looking for.

Here’s how to search and follow accounts with Nostr.Band:

1. Search for the name or username of the account you want to follow.

2. Click or tap the Open button.

3. Select Damus as your client and check Remember so that Damus is automatically selected for your future searches.

4. Click or tap Open in the app.

5. Click or tap Open.

6. When the profile opens in Damus, click or tap the Follow button.

Browsing for accounts to follow in Damus

There are two main ways you can browse for accounts that you want to follow in Damus: scroll through the Universe tab or browse the Following and Followers lists of the accounts you follow.

To find accounts via the Universe tab:

1. Start scrolling until you see a post or account that you’re interested in.

2. Click or tap on the account and select the Follow button.

To browse the Following and Followers lists of the accounts you follow:

1. Open your profile.

2. Click or tap Following and select one of the accounts.

3. Click or tap Followers to download the account’s follower list.

4. Click or tap Followers or Following to browse the account’s followers or the accounts they follow.

5. Click or tap the Follow button next to the accounts you want to follow.

Enjoy decentralized social media

There you go. Start exploring Damus and enjoy the benefits of decentralized, censorship-resistant social media. And be sure to follow Reclaim the Net on Nostr.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

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