It’s not secret that I’m a bit of a social media addict. I currently have nearly 15,000 tweets on Twitter (I’m not proud of this, BTW). I enjoy Twitter; it’s a fun way to stay connected with everything that’s going on, and I’ve made some interesting friends on there. I stay out of the flame wars and enjoy the hashtag games. But of course, it’s limited. You can’t exactly be profound in 140 characters. And oftentimes, as I’ve said before, it feels like the 21st-century techno version of talking to yourself.
Then there’s Facebook. Vanilla land, although there are many spankos on there. I straddle two fences there. I use Erica Scott, as I do pretty much everywhere. But because I have many vanilla friends on there, or spanko friends under their vanilla names, I avoid spanking talk and photos. Oh, there’s hinting and playing at it. But I’m discreet. What do I like about FB? I love to play Scrabble and Words With Friends. I like looking at my friends’ pictures. I’m a sucker for all the cute animal videos. I like keeping up with the authors of spanking e-books, as I copy-edit several of them. But I can only hang around there so often. The political and religious stuff is hot and heavy there and I find myself getting angry. I realize that underneath my anger is a lot of fear over what the hell is happening to us and what’s going to happen, but I can’t fix that and immersing myself in it is not good for me and my depressive tendencies.
Aaaaand then there’s FetLife. From which I’m still deactivated, and have been for about a month now. It feels a little strange, like there’s a hole in my online life. But I feel like in many ways, going there was like beating a dead horse. It simply wasn’t what it used to be: a fun place to connect with all my kinky friends, talk about spanking, share thoughts and fantasies and memories, make new friends. FetLife currently has millions of members; I was member number 16,919. So we go way back.
There’s a lot I don’t miss on FetLife. For example:
- “[Our party] is the best/most well attended/most inclusive party and has the most cool kids and spanking models!” “No, [party B] is!” “No, [party C] is!” “[Your party] sucks!” “No, yours does!” “No, yours!” “You suck!” “No, you do!”
- Dick pics, twat shots and wide-open back door pictures where you can practically count the feet of intestines.
- Endless pontificating from the handful of “experts” who could post the Gettysburg Address and have it land on Kinky and Popular.
- Stuff like “[A well-known top] is awesome, and if you don’t like him, then fuck you!” Worship of false idols.
- The never-ending barrage of accusations — an almost daily report of whose consent got violated. There was an epic flame war over a woman who claimed her consent was violated at a private spanking party. Why? Because the host jokingly referred to her as “naughty.” I kid you not. This one did this, this one said that… and the result is when someone really is raped/violated, it’s not taken seriously.
- Inappropriate comments and insults on women’s pictures. I say “women” because I honestly haven’t seen them on men’s photos, but I’m sure those exist too. Treating the spanking models like they’re sexy life-sized dolls there for your entertainment, rather than like the real people they are.
- “Which celebrity would you like to spank/be spanked by?” “What’s your favorite implement/position/word for bottom?” “Is spanking sexual?” being brought up and discussed for the 11,527th time in a new thread.
- Flaming, bullying and sock puppetry. So many fakes that one never really knows who and what is real.
Oh, but… I do miss things too. Such as:
- The way the community could band together when someone is in need. A couple of years ago, a beloved long-time member of the scene had a massive heart attack and nearly died. He was incapacitated and couldn’t pay a lot of his immediate bills. A GoFundMe (or something similar, I can’t recall for sure) was organized for him, with a goal of $10,000. That was surpassed in just two days. I think they ended up with about $17,000 for him. Another member had serious complications with a high-risk pregnancy and ended up giving birth prematurely — she too nearly died. A collection was taken up for her as well.
- Fun, silly, playful stuff, friends enjoying each other. One of my favorites: when our friend Piper was “grounded” from FetLife and a bunch of us were pleading with her top to “free” her and let her come back. Some of us even taped little videos of our pleas, including yours truly. I actually sang.
- Post-party discussions about our favorite memories.
- My wall filled with greetings on my birthday.
- Unexpected messages/comments that brightened my day.
- Connecting with my friends and feeling “a part of.” Right now, I feel disconnected and sad. I feel unmissed and insignificant. But then again, they are probably feeling like I abandoned them. I read a depressing meme on Facebook recently: Something along the lines of “If your disappearance didn’t affect your friends’ lives, then your existence probably didn’t either.” Ugh. Not what I needed to see.
So where does one go to connect online with other kinksters? Is that a place that simply doesn’t exist anymore? Is it all about photos and hookups and parties and little else? Part of me wants to go back to FetLife; another part says, “Why?” I know I don’t want to just yet, not when the national party season is in full swing. I’m not going to any of them and I don’t need to read about them.
It’s all part of the “where do I go from here” thing I’ve been dealing with. I had a sense of belonging for a very long time, something I spent most of my life without. Now, I am questioning where I belong. With John, of course. With Steve. In video archives. But where else? That’s a rhetorical question — I’m not expecting any answers. The spanking community is and has been important to me for a long time, and I want to continue to be a part of it, to contribute to it. I’m just not sure how.
Anyway. Enough of this meandering. I have to go get a pedicure. Tomorrow, I’m going with John to his high school’s 40-year reunion and he wants to show off his “hot girlfriend.” (Looking at my sloppy self at the moment and thinking “WTF??”). I don’t think he needs me there, really. He has a good job, a good career, two residences, and will probably be the only guy there who is still fit and trim and has hair. But what the hell… it’s just a couple of hours. I won’t know anyone there, but I’ll smile and nod and fake my way through it. Like I did for years and years at his family events, of which we have been relieved, thank you very much. And I’ll get to go home with the best guy there. ♥
Have a great weekend, y’all.