Facilitating Fetish: Social Networking for Perves

By on June 16, 2010

In the wake of Facebook privacy debates it seems that social media has become hot topic number one. Considering that more people ‘facebook’ (vb.) than ‘google’ these days and that the population of the former is exceeded only by China and India, it’s not surprising. Nor is it going to go away.

But how does social media do for us perves? Well you tell me – because you can.

With the internet the revolution already happened, did you miss it? In forums, comments, tweets, the debates can update themselves and probably be set to alert your genital piercing, and linked to a platform on your mobile.

In my circle of fetish adventure it seems that there is a social-network trinity of Informed Consent, Collar Me and Fetlife. Informed Consent or IC is broad and exceptional in its simplistic scope. It’s idiosyncratic features, functionality and forum set it apart and have very definite followers. You can get hacked to pieces or wildly celebrated in a forum, and that’s part of its charm. You will definitely get more of response to a play question than: ‘Have you tried Googling it?’ And yes, there is a lot of old-school BDSM here because these things have come down from the ages.

Collar Me on the other hand is a straightforward personals site with lots of chancers trying it on from both sides. Beware the online money dominatrixes and male ‘web-wankers’ (not an insult, it’s what they do) looking to start play from ‘Hello, my name is…’But despite having its fair dose of proactive predators, I still suspect there are many like me who naively hope to find and date a person first and filter the BDSM discussion in over wine after a light dinner. Your definition of fun will determine your strength of loyalty here.

Fetlife however is more your general fetish Facebook and has even started updates in social network fashion. It feels more stylish and focused on mass-facilitation than setting itself in any firm camp. It has this North American way of embracing the word fetish to mean an alternative-sex umbrella, a catch-all that has the ability to dilute sexuality down to a wannabe model wearing a latex dress. But that’s ok because you can have your own groups and follow the discussions about your predilections. And because it’s USG – user generated content – the site itself avoids liability. Did you read your terms and conditions?

I’m sure as it grows it will get more easily-flung flak as these free services do. But bear in mind this before I leave to check your BDSM and F emails. The site has only been created and is just maintained by facilitators; it only takes one or two members to besmirch a reputation of the website as a whole.

I have faith they will continue to enable my friends and I to communicate our personal preferences. So I will leave the last word Fetlife founder John Baku, who I wrote to asking how much work was involved in setting up his social-networking site. Baku’s answer I feel reveals a passion that defies rash and cynical judgement:

‘Fetlife is a company like no other. We have 3 full-time employees, a couple part time and 60-70 volunteers. Not only does it take up all my time, we work 70+ hours a week easily.’

3 Comments

Jackson Rocco

June 17, 2010 @ 12:56

Rubberpal is also very good and very loyal to its users. That does deserve its own special post someday.

Facebook is self-governing for me in that my friends and family are on there. I don’t expect the vanilla half to get what I’m into, although they generally do. You can set privacy restrictions on who sees what or even mark a folder ‘not for the easily offended’.

Fetlife is fine for people to see your stuff for those who desire to see it – including now for sponsorship, videos. I don’t have a problem with that. I’m sure other sites will grow in size and usability and compete.

YouTube. Boundaries? I for one quite like rules, not arbitrary ones. For me the kink pang comes from crossing a line – albeit, ironically, an agreed one.

Again X-tube and others can deal with overt content now. Is there not a dedicated fetish/bdsm video upload site? Maybe you can start one Miss Chaos?

Martyn

June 16, 2010 @ 21:21

Skin Two has been deleted off Facebook a number of times, someone seems to enjoy reporting us for whatever might have offended their tender sensibilties…. But it’s a great site for marketing. I’d support Fetlife all the way, I think it is great, personally. And yes Youtube is just getting ridiculous.

miss chaos

June 16, 2010 @ 20:19

interesting article. myself i also like rubberpal. i don’t like facebook, it should be renamed fakebook and i hate youtube, they’ve wasted loads of my time with their arbitrary censoring. i think that i’m gradually moving away from generic social networks to specialist ones.

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