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.
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.
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.
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.
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.