FetLife: A New User’s Guide part 1

13 08 2010

FetLife really changed the game when it came online back in 2008. FetLife was a different sort of social networking site. Before it existed, the kink community congregated in sites like Alt.com, CollarMe.com and Bondage.com. While they all served their purpose, and had thriving forums, they were first and foremost a meat market. Their focus was on getting you laid.

 

 

John Baku changed all that.

 

FetLife was the first social network of its kind. A place on the web for kinky folks where the point wasn’t to get you laid. It was to get you connected with real people. Meet friends. Learn.

 

Getting laid was a bonus.

 

But, because it is so different, coming to FetLife is a bit of a challenge. The way things work can be somewhat hard to understand. This post is meant to assist with the transformation that your thinking will need in order to adjust to the new world that is FetLife.

 

Search
First, FetLife doesn’t let you search for users by age, sex, orientation, or role. You won’t immediately find a way to do this. And while you can search Don’t worry about. FetLife isn’t about instant gratification, but rather it is about making a deeper connection. You can find what you want, but instead of it being served up on a platter for you, you have to do some looking and talking and meeting people. Kind of like the offline world.

Imagine going to a night club where you walk up to a host and say, “Hey, show me all the blonde 18-25 year olds who live 25 minutes from me.” That isn’t how the real world works. That isn’t the way FetLife works. You are going to have to join groups and interact with people. Just like real life.

User Status
No one knows you are online. Let me repeat that, you won’t get a ping from someone you know saying, “Hey I saw you were online and wanted to see if you wanted to chat.” That lets you lean back and relax. When you look at someone’s pics or post or profile, no trace is left unless you leave it on purpose. You can write on their walls or not or “perv” (as John Baku likes to say) their pics and no one will know.

I really like this. While it is fun to see who is looking at your profile, it can be a bit annoying at times and I don’t always want people to know what pics I am looking at. And here you have that option.

Privacy Options
To put it bluntly, there are none. Now John doesn’t let search engines crawl through the depths so you won’t find the content through web searches. But anybody can see your profile and every post, picture and comment is visible through your profile and the other users’ “feeds”. Write a post, and all your friends can see it.

While some are concerned about issues regarding stalking or not being able to share more risqué content with only friends my way of thinking, this is better in two ways.

The first way this is better is that you are accountable for what you post. Say something mean, there is a trail. Post a picture that isn’t you, everyone sees it. I think it leads to a more mature environment and a bit of a small, home-town feel. You don’t get to hide here. You can build (or destroy) a reputation because there is a history.

The second way is due to the nature of the Internet. If you place anything on the Internet that even one other person can see (and why did you upload it it if you don’t want to share it in the first place?), it can get out. Popular culture examples revolve around Facebook, but this experience has been going on for a long time. There is a story in the news about a woman who got fired from her job for something she said on Facebook. And Facebook is famous for the privacy controls. Frankly, privacy settings is more about theatre than keeping your stuff private. You don’t want it seen? Don’t post it.

That said, FetLife does give you some defenses.  If some one is harassing you and sending you unwanted messages, you can simply go to their profile, and click on REALLY BIG (well maybe not that big) block button on the right side. Click that and *poof* they cannot message you, see your profile (beyond a few basic bits of info), any of your pics (besides your profile icon), and all their messages and comments magically disappear.

If they aren’t bothering you on your profile but in a group instead, try messaging one of the leaders. They are usually the best place to start asking for help. If that doesn’t work you can email the caretakers (caretakers @ fetlife. com) and they can help you out as well. The caretakers are all volunteers, but they try to respond to spamming and serious harassment issues as quickly as they can. I have even seen people removed from FetLife, though they usually like to approach the users and try to mediate the differences first.

‘Nuff said about the differences, lets get you signed up.

FetLife account creation.
Going to FetLife.com for the first time will present you with a screen like this. One interesting note is that all of the pics on the web page are actual FetLife members. JohnBaku arranged to have some of these pics taken in a photo shoot and he has even called for member generated images as well for the public face of FetLife. Look around for a bit, because you can see some interesting stats. When you are ready, click on the BIG sign-up button and get started.

 

I wanted to include a screenshot of the signup form and highlight some of the unique features of FetLife. First, John doesn’t ask for a lot of information from you. Something to call you. Gender, orientation, date of birth. Country.

That last part is important. FetLife is highly international. I see posts everyday from people in Canada, Europe, and Australia. In fact FetLife itself is mostly run by kinky Canucks.

And if you are uncomfortable telling people where you live, there are an amazing number of kinksters in Antarctica.

 

FetLife offers a vast number of choices in the gender, orientation and role categories. In fact the biggest I have ever seen. John has said he would like to have a fill in the blank form here. For now, pick what is closest (and I think 90-95% will be well served by the choices listed).

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have that filled out,  you need to provide your country, state/province and city. If you’re very new and don’t feel comfortable filling that in, just choose a location near enough to make you comfortable.

You can also safely fill in your birth date as well. Remember, there is no age search. But if that makes you sad, there are also a surprisingly number of 90 year old kinksters too. lol

Finally put in your contact info (email address), password, enter in the verification code and click on the annoying legalese and you’re done.

Welcome to Fetlife.

Next time, I visit this subject I will talk about how to use it.

MV

Update #1

FetLife just added the ability to mark individual photos as “private” which means that only people on your friends list can see them. They will also not show up on the feed, unless the person is also your friend.

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25 responses

18 08 2010
JohnBaku

Well written my friend! Thanks for writing this.

18 08 2010
MasterVoid

You’re welcome, John. I am just happy to give something back to the community that you have built.

8 09 2011
Bo

Still sucks that you can’t even distinguish by sex. I mean, even in a night club, you’d be able to tell who the men and who the women are (maybe).

9 09 2011
MasterVoid

Um. You can distinguish by sex, you just can’t search by sex. When you go to the night club sometimes it’s a stag fest. Sometimes it isn’t.
:)

30 01 2012
Sam

I have been trying to create an account for the past several hours, but everytime that I click “Join Fetlife” it takes me to the login screen and tells me that I have to be logged in to access that page. I really want to create a profile, but this is ridiculous. I’m about to just give up all together. Any ideas as to why it’s apparently impossible for me to create an account?

30 01 2012
MasterVoid

Well I just checked the support forums and I didn’t see anything specifically. I’ll check in a bit and see if I can create something.

Might even send you the info if I do.

30 01 2012
Sam

Thank you so much. I appreciate the help.

9 04 2012
Lost_Soul_Reborn

I have to say this is the best site of its kind. I was initially convinced within the first week that I wanted to stay here. If it wasn’t for my vanilla friend on Facebook, I would only utilized Fetlife as my social network.

Thanks, John for breaking the mold and thinking Kink.

6 08 2012
Sharon

i’m not sure who can help me with my problem of not being able to sign in- i sent a message to John-nothing with the help of fet line i cannot express it unless i sign in! i enjoyed this site but if nothing is done then i will have to voice a complaint about the service here. sommeone may have hacked it also-not sure what the problem is – hope this e mail goes to someone who can help me

14 02 2013
Red

I’m trying to create an account, but I can’t type in a verification code. The box with the letters in it under the “Validate you are human” section that shows up on your screenshot does not show up on mine. All the other sections are correct, but that one just has the bar with the heading-that’s it- and then it moves on to the next section. I am not able to verify my humanity, so it won’t let me have an account. :/
Help would be most welcome, please. Thanks.

14 02 2013
MasterVoid

Email caretakers@fetlife.com and they can get you sorted out.

14 02 2013
redd123

I’m trying to create an account, but I can’t type in a verification code. The box with the letters in it under the “Validate you are human” section that shows up on your screenshot does not show up on mine. All the other sections are correct, but that one just has the bar with the heading-that’s it- and then it moves on to the next section. I am not able to verify my humanity, so it won’t let me have an account. :/
Help would be most welcome, please. Thanks.

14 02 2013
redd123

Sorry, didn’t mean to re-post! Thank you for the link

18 02 2013
nympha

FetLife is fun! If anyone wants to say hi on FetLife, I’m at:
https://fetlife.com/users/2008415 :)

26 03 2013
LadyxVoluptas

It would be helpful, for us newbies, to have a list of what the roles mean. =) Just a suggestion.

27 03 2013
MasterVoid

Great idea. I start on that (though some roles may have multiple versions, I’ll give my view of them). Thanks for the suggestion.

4 07 2013
mistressL

I think churchofchains.com is better than both collar and fet
You can do both search and join groups

21 08 2013
visit big Orange Planet

Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

21 08 2013
MasterVoid

Nope. Sorry I don’t. Didn’t do anything myself to cause it.

3 09 2013
Monica

so how can you find people, like if i want to connect with people in germany for example? or do i have to go through every person in every country?

4 09 2013
MasterVoid

Monica,

I wouldn’t browse through members. I would join German groups that are focused either on your area (for a bigger number if local users), or a given fetish. If they don’t exist, then start one yourself.

I hope that helps.

MV

5 09 2013
Jx

Hello,

I use Fetlife quite a bit, it is annoying that you can’t search via gender but I understand why. What is annoying is there are no favorites. I would like to be able to add profiles to fav’s or even to a list, without adding them as friends and without having to CTRL+B them (due to privacy). So it is easy to find someone you might click with, but not have time to send them a message (a lot of women say they won’t respond to short messages (and funnily enough when you spend an hour writing them a proper one they don’t reply then either)).
Also, a lot of people ask for “your love” which I assume is like a “like” button, I cannot find this anywhere?,
Most of the users are married or “protected” which I have been told means you cannot message them without permission from the protector, who naturally never replies.
A forum or messageboard within Fetlife would be pretty awesome, also being able to search within x miles of postcode, as searching by County is annoying… the county of Surrey for example covers something like a 150 mile area!

15 09 2013
Kevin

I am so sick of your shutting me off every Saturday night because of the volume of people i befriend this is not what or the way networking is suppose to be or how it should work especially when i see hundreds of others on this same site befriending way more people than i do every Saturday night i get to about maybe 20 for the entire day and i get shut down without cause your black me for four fucking hours . Do you think this is right . yes your system is very flawed and i do take it personal it needs fixing or you need to have a time rule or something but this needs to change . Its not like i do it all at once i t take me all day sometimes to get to 20 people to connect to and over a 12 hour or more period you’d think it wouldn’t work this way but it does and its unfair and its reeks of discriminatory reactions on your part as administrators of this site.

17 05 2014
MasterPan

Fetlife sign-up page has no australia location when required field input option. Could someone please help as we really would love to join fetlife a great fet community.

17 05 2014
MasterVoid

@MasterPan Australia is listed. Just not alphabetically. It is 4 th on the country list after US, Canada, and UK.

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