This message is not another debate, or opportunity to weigh in on what I think about the enforcement of TOUs, about idiotic management (other than my own mistakes), or what the site can and cannot do to protect. Several have heard loud shots, appearing to be coming from the site’s foundation; though, whether these blows are the ultimate death knell of FetLife is uncertain.
However, ultimately, it isn’t a case of IF FetLife implodes, but WHEN will it happen, and HOW – whether its death is by implosion or a slow trickle of migration and neglect.
Please understand: I’m not saying these things to be a prophet of doom, but simply recognizing the life cycle of any one method being “the way” to find information. Before there was FetLife, there was Yahoo groups and Geocities, and IRC chatrooms and newspaper ads and probably notes on papyrus. Before there was Facebook, there was MySpace and bulletin boards and … There is always a before – and an an after.
Regardless, Group Leaders, NOW is the time to consider your own organization’s communication and outreach strategies.
- Does your group have a standalone website? A Yahoo or other group?
- Does your group maintain an email list? When was the last time it was backed up? When was the last time addresses were checked?
- How do members contact group leaders on and off of FetLife? Is there a generic email address? (eg President@YourDungeonClub.com)
- Is your group’s visible information accurate, correct and timely? Are you still referring to yourself as a “new group”, even though you’ve now been around for five years? Do you still list your munch location as the place that burned down in 2011?
- Revisit your group’s name and description, on FetLife and elsewhere. Consider the tips in @this thread, especially about including keywords.
- Test your group’s ability to be found, Try to search various ways, on and off FetLife, to find your group. Do you show up when you use the “Places” tab on FetLife? when you search by your city? How about other ways?
FYI: Did you know that when you search in Yahoo groups for the keyword “munch”, it only comes back with 139 links (many of which have nothing to do with BDSM)? When you consider that FetLife has over 71,000 groups, and about half have a local component, that listing is far from complete or accurate.
Consider not just who your members are today, but the people looking for you in the future. Don’t equate “being found” with “being out”; there are several ways to promote your group that will help in a search that are less obvious than others. Even if you have a strong FetLife presence, and even if FetLife only gets bigger and better, Google doesn’t search FetLife – which leaves those searching in the dark.
Taking the time now will help your group survive – and thrive – regardless of chaos in the community at large.
Let’s help each other. Spread the word.
PS: I’m in the process of migrating The Munch and Adult Local Link (MALL) Directory to the standalone site www.FindaMunch.com. Please feel free to check it out, and to verify your gathering’s information.
I am not abandoning FetLife for the foreseeable future, but expanding the potential reach of The Directory by giving it potentially larger visibility, and therefore, continuing to provide an avenue for people to find your local organizations.
REV: 2013 March 15
For those with Yahoo (or other groups), be sure your “Related Link” points to an up-to-date, valid resource.