The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - I'm Talkin' About FetLife. Can Ya Dig It?
April 4th, 2010
11:47 am

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I'm Talkin' About FetLife. Can Ya Dig It?
So after poking around some more on FetLife, The Facebook of Kinksters, it is actually terribly designed.

At first, it looks awesome, because it's really gender-friendly (nine options for gender, going all the way to "Genderqueer" and "Intersex"), has tons of available fetishes for you to choose from (I'd never heard of Dacryphilia - "being aroused by tears" - but damn if there aren't 1,800 people into it), and is really well laid out, with the opportunity to post multiple pictures (kinky or not), long essays, and generally a nice site design.

In fact, the site seems wonderfully friendly to verbose people - most of the profile pages have long essays, meaning that brains trump bodies here.

The only problem is that you can't fucking find anyone.

All the other sex sites I know allow you to find people in your area, with a radius of searching - "All folks within 25 miles." FetLife, on the other hand, searches by city and state - so if I want to find all my crazy pals in Rocky River, no problem. But if I want to see who else is near to me, I then have to remember that my next-door neighbor cities are Fairview Park and Lakewood. And then keep clicking each city on an expanding radius.

Basically, I need a fucking map to use this thing.

Worse, the results can't be further filtered. If I'm only interested in people between 27 and 65, I have no way to filter out the many 19-year-olds who are probably not only a tad too young for me, but would be creeped out by Old Man Ferrett gawking at them. And if I'm straight and only want to find women, well, no filter. Everyone comes up.

Worse, if I'm searching on one of these many fetishes, I can't filter by location. So if my deepest fetish is "cow tipping," and there are 1,000 members who are intrigued by the erotic art of bovine degravitation, I have to hunt through a thousand profiles in Sacramento, CA and Birmingham, AL and Perth, Australia. If I'm looking for someone else in Ohio to drive out to Amish country, put on the Chick Fil-A suit, and put my shoulder to the leather? Fucking forget it, man.

Perhaps the option exists. But as a casual user, I see it nowhere. If there's not a Cow-Tipping Coming Out event in your area where you can browse members, you're pretty much fucked.

And that robs FetLife of one of its greatest strengths: If I want to find a play partner in my area, and I have a specific kink I want hit, how do I find it? Well, I have to put in hours of combing through virtual yellow pages, checking hundreds of users and hoping I remember that Hamilton, though it is in Ohio, is actually a four-hour drive away.

Having all these people is nice and wonderful, but when it comes to finding your kinktastic soulmate? I ain't impressed. They may have done it for privacy reasons - but if so, why have the results public?

Just give me a damn ability to find all the cow-tippers within fifty miles of me, and I'll moo with pleasure. As it is, I've got a beef with these guys.

(32 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
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From:lady_anemone
Date:April 4th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)

It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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This comes up a lot in the site's suggestion box and every time the same response comes back. The founder specifically designed it to be a social site, NOT a meat market. They made it hard to search for users on purpose and will not change it - because they don't want it to be just like collarme, alt.com, and all those other places. They want it to be a place where kinky people hang out and share ideas, not a place to find a kinktastic soulmate. As a woman, it's actually kind of awesome to not get emails from guys all the time that see that I'm a woman within 500 miles of them and therefore think I must want to be their Mistress.

If you want to meet people there are a number of good groups within the site for that, such as Classfieds and The Meet Locker. There are also good locally-based groups. But that's not what the designers were trying to facilitate, so it makes sense that it's hard to do.
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From:theferrett
Date:April 4th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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And I think that's legitimate - I just think that for me, I'd have to put so much effort into the damn thing to find someone that it wouldn't be worth it.

I like the site in so many other ways that it struck me that it had to be a design that I disagree with - but if so, why even do the city thing at all? It just seems like another way of doin' it, albeit slowly.
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From:miintikwa
Date:April 4th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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Bottom line? Fetlife makes it easier to get to know someone, and harder for predators to pass.

It's set up like a munch, in a way. The groups are there for you to talk and get to know people and have an idea of what's really going on in their heads before you go play, and potentially put yourself in danger.

Because, never forget, Ferrett, some of the things people do in our lifestyle can kill if done irresponsibly. Scenes gone wrong can leave mental scars that last a lifetime, too.

I take my kink pretty seriously. I never forget, when a submissive allows me to top them, that I am responsible for their safety, and I only hang with people who feel the same way. It's a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but that's why there's a lot of negotiating, too.
*g* You wanna talk about sex bureaucracy? Check out some of the contract groups!

Edited at 2010-04-04 05:23 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:April 4th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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Because, never forget, Ferrett, some of the things people do in our lifestyle can kill if done irresponsibly. Scenes gone wrong can leave mental scars that last a lifetime, too.

I think that's also very fair. I disagree with it, but I can also see the need for it - much like back when LJ was invitation-only, which made it a little more cliquey but also a little more signal-to-noise.

If you wanna friend me there, well, I ain't too hard to find. I always choose the same name when I can.
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From:ioldanach
Date:April 5th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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The idea of fetlife is similar to that of facebook. To find people you know who are on the site, not to find people on the site that you'd like to get to know.

My big issue with it is that there are absolutely no privacy controls. You can't restrict your photos and fetish list to friends, or even friends of friends. As long as you're a logged in member you can see anyone's fetish list and photos. That is why it is half-assed.
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From:theferrett
Date:April 5th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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The problem is, it doesn't do THAT. I have several friends of mine in the kink-lifestyle, and I haven't been able to find them unless they use the exact same handle everywhere. So as far as finding the pals I have, unless I know where they live (which isn't the same as knowing them), then I can't get there.
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From:ioldanach
Date:April 5th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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Yes, that's not designed very well either. Apparently you're supposed to know who they are because they tell you their handle offline or something. The whole can't-search-by-attributes thing (radius, gender, age) ignores the fact that you probably know the location, gender, and age of your friends so being able to narrow down a search list helps you find them.

But I really do understand the goal of making searching hard, even if the execution is poor and the intended result is relatively useless.
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From:ioldanach
Date:April 5th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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I think part of the idea is that once you've linked up with enough of your acquaintances the network nature of acquaintances will help you find more.

Except that, unlike facebook, it doesn't give you a helpful list of people you probably know, like friends of friends who know more than two of your friends.
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From:ioldanach
Date:April 5th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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Oh, and I forgot the other annoying "feature". If there are, say, 6,000 people interested in cow-tipping, no matter how diligent and patient you are you'll only ever see the first 1,000. That's as far as any search will go.
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From:bart_calendar
Date:April 4th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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That's the thing. One of my adult website clients a while back wanted to put together a social networking thing that would put people in touch with local people.

What he found out was that there were a lot of women who wanted to talk about their faux rape fantasies with like minded dudes, but not any who wanted local dudes to know they had rape fantasies, for obvious reasons. (Same with "straight" dudes who had fantasies about being raped by big manly dudes.)

By not being able to search for people in your area the system is a lot safer - particularly for the submissives.

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From:miintikwa
Date:April 4th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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By not being able to search for people in your area the system is a lot safer - particularly for the submissives.

This. A thousand times this. My original profile on Alt.com listed me as a sub rather than a switch. Every fucking time I logged on, I had mail from some creep demanding I 'kneel before him' (Is your name Zod, asshole?) and submit to his kink, regardless of whether we were compatible!

And the thing is, I know that there are subs out there who want so badly to experience the lifestyle face to face that rather than setting off the creep radar (which it does me, most of the time--the nice guys get a reply) they'd reply, all happy someone was interested.

That's why I like Fetlife way better.
[User Picture]
From:bart_calendar
Date:April 4th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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They do that to dudes as well. For a very short while I had myself listed on Alt as a heterosexual male sub and still had dudes sending me messages to kneel before them and suck their dicks.

"Like, sorry dude, I want to kneel before pussy."

I think a lot of the super dom guys don't care at all what your gender is or what you want, they just want the power to order human flesh around.
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From:miintikwa
Date:April 4th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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I do not get that. To me, being dominant isn't about power tripping, it's about sharing, and mostly about figuring out what's going to be most fun for the sub and the dominant both, and then pushing limits.

But it isn't just about having a warm body around. Ick.
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From:bart_calendar
Date:April 4th, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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Well, I don't think all, or even most, doms are like that. But the super power doms are very loud and vocal and really don't care.

That said, I know some sub guys and girls who also don't care what their told to do, the gender of their master or whatever, because they are the super end of the sub spectrum. They are just less vocal, because that's somewhat the nature of their orientation. You can't just email random people and say "enslave me!"
[User Picture]
From:miintikwa
Date:April 4th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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Yeah, good point! I always forget that the loudness of a group overstates its size.

And yes, the super-slave-subs are the same. I can't but wish they'd talk a little more. It would help balance things, perhaps.
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:April 4th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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The crazy ones in any group, sadly, define your public face. The best way to get around that is to rise as one and yell that that guy's an idiot - which is a good thing, if a little hard on the idiot - but difficult when there are so many idiots that it's hard to stamp 'em out.

[User Picture]
From:bart_calendar
Date:April 4th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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Also difficult when the idiots are rape/torture fetish tops who have handcuffs, knives, ski masks and various other fetish weapons and live in your town - and now know what your face looks like.

Oh, and when you are in the hospital they'll show the cops your FetLife profile and claim that when they raped, stabbed and branded you it was part of a "scene."

I wouldn't piss off a super top to save my life.
[User Picture]
From:felisdemens
Date:April 4th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)

Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature you don't agree with. :)

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As a woman, it's actually kind of awesome to not get emails from guys all the time that see that I'm a woman within 500 miles of them and therefore think I must want to be their Mistress.

Is that the intent? Because in my case, it fails utterly. I get a steady stream of those.
[User Picture]
From:allah_sulu
Date:April 4th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
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Plus "FetLife" sounds too much like an insurance company.
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From:terpsichoros
Date:April 4th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Those could be some *interesting* underwriting tables.
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From:docbrite
Date:April 5th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
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To me, at first cursory glance, it sounded like an anti-abortion group! Then I figured Ferrett wouldn't be interested in that and took another glance.
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From:theferrett
Date:April 5th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
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To be fair, if there was an anti-abortion social network, I'd be FASCINATED. But I sure as fuck wouldn't join up.
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From:bart_calendar
Date:April 4th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
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My understanding is that point of FetLife isn't to meat up it's to talk and exchange ideas with people you might not meet in your local kink community. Therefore it's designed to push you to talk to people who are far away. As you kink group expands, if people think you are trustworthy, one or more of your new friends is likely to say to you "Hey, one of my friends lives near you and is into your shit, this is her profile number."

It's a way to stop dudes sending pictures of their dicks to every girl who lives near them.
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From:bart_calendar
Date:April 4th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
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Also, I suspect the site that you would like (just from what I've heard, I haven't tested it myself) is www.localfuckbook.com which is supposedly set up exactly like facebook but for kinky people.

Also, Alt is awesome.
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From:mb2u
Date:April 4th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
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The one major problem I have with FetLife is the same one you do. And I have complained many times on FetLife, but the founder has his head firmly up his arse on this. I understand it's supposed to be a social site-got it, okay? But what if you want to create a discussion group for a specific fetish in your area? The lack of a real search function pretty much kills it, unless you have hours to waste going through thousands of profile results...

Oh, and you know you can't delete messages in FetLife? Nope, you can archive them, that's all.
[User Picture]
From:pretendpeterpan
Date:April 5th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
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One way around this which is still very much in the keeping of the ethos there is to create a group. There are a number of Chicago-specific groups and once someone with a lot of friends joins, many other people follow suit.
[User Picture]
From:mb2u
Date:April 4th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)

An unrelated but related topic

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What's so great about Alt.com? I've seen it, tried it, and can't get it. Their free service is pretty useless-you can't post messages or replies, you can't really do anything. If you aren't willing to pay, it's useless. Or am I totally missing something?
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From:heyuwiththeface
Date:April 5th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)
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I agree with lady_anemone. I like that it's not like collarme, or alt.com.

I can exist in my own kink-filled world and be left alone by guys wanting to meet up. There are so many other sites out there designed for this (adultfriendfinder, collarme, alt, etc. etc. etc.) that I am glad fetlife isn't one of them.

I would see if there are groups on there in your area, that might help narrow down your search, but the impression I get from the site is that most people are in committed relationships, and not looking for other people. They can post their kinky stuff, and talk about things that they can't on facebook or twitter, because their families might see it. (That's what I use mine for anyway, lol.)


Just like you don't go to facebook to find a mate, fetlife is the same.
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From:ccr1138
Date:April 5th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
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"bovine degravitation"

ROFLMAO
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From:nacadas
Date:April 5th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
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"So if my deepest fetish is "cow tipping," and there are 1,000 members who are intrigued by the erotic art of bovine degravitation, I have to hunt through a thousand profiles in Sacramento, CA and Birmingham, AL and Perth, Australia."

I'm... I'm wondering if you actually found someone here in Perth with that particular kink or if that was pulled out of the air. Either way, I am amused XD
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From:swashbucklr
Date:April 5th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
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My main complaint is with the site is there is no way to render any part of your profile private or visible only to friends. I'm certain there are lots of people who would be interested in joining such a site, and very much interested in sharing pictures and writings with their friends and play partners, but not with the whole membership.

The only barrier to privacy is signing up. And even if you want to remain anonymous, there's often a lot of context that can help someone figure out who you are, like your friends list, or your site history.
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From:heyuwiththeface
Date:April 5th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
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this I can agree with. I recently discovered my aunt is a spanko... because she friended me on fetlife (no clue HOW she found me, my handle is different from any other site). :/

i had ageplay photos on there too... thank god there weren't any of my ladybits.
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