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Friday, December 7, 2012

Internet Forums (behind the scenes look)

This post is prompted by THIS comment on Adult Forum.
It's going to be long, so please go get your beer and popcorn (or a glass of red, as case may be) :).

Although I agree with the original poster in principal and wholeheartedly support the sentiment in theory, REALITY of forum life is somewhat different.

First of all, people participate in different forums because the main subject of the forum interests them or because it relates to their work.
Sex industry forums are no different. They  usually  consist of two very different groups:WGs (sex workers) use those forums as a marketing platform (so for them it's work) and guys (clients) come there for fun-they read reviews in order to select a girl for their next punt, exchange banter,jokes,etc
There are also a few participants in every forum who are not directly involved in the industry, but either have a keen interest or USED to be a part of one of the two groups mentioned above.

I actively participate in sex industry forums because sex work is THE ONLY  work I do these days (and have been doing exclusively for the past 3 years) and I treat it as a business. I approach things professionally (as many who've met me would attest to).
I do know a lot of forum members personally and some of those became good friends. However, if I want to interact with my friends, I dial their personal phone, email them or go to MSN chat.
If I log in to the forum, it's work. Yes, I post jokes and have playful banter-it's not all dead serious, but I never forget that it's just like being in the office: thousands of people might be watching me and make assessment as to whether or not to spend some money with me.

WGs on the forums are like sitting ducks: anyone and everyone who has a personal agenda (competition, a client with a grudge,etc) can take a potshot and seriously impact girl's business (and income). Basically, it's all-year round "open season" on WGs.
One has to be pretty thick skinned and have the ability to keep their cool at all times to be able to navigate forum waters, which can often become murky and infested with sharks.
That's why so many WGs choose not to participate in Forums-they just can't handle it.
This said, there is no such thing as bad publicity-it's true. Often times people tend to feel sorry for someone who is under attack and it creates a surge of business for that person.
I speak from personal experience: I've been a subject of a few nasty and vicious personal attacks on Adult Forum and it actually netted me a significant amount of money (seriously)-probably as much as a very good reviews did.
It's basic human instinct: people often feel sorry for underdog .
So if a WG is able and willing to withstand some rough waters, forums are valuable source of income.

Here's the reality: on any given forum, if you have more or less high profile and a is a decent person, about 15% of members really like you, about 10% hate you with passion and the rest not bothered either way. They really don't care. Occasional post might interest them, but overall, they are not interested in background and behind the scene politics.
Every time there is a "storm in a tea cup" on a forum and it seems like the "REALLY BIG DEAL", you'll find that thousands of forum members had no idea it was even happening.
And 2 days later it will all be forgotten to be replaced by another "REALLY BIG DEAL" in a few days.
Members come and go. Some become less active and some decide to participate more. Often it has to do with people's personal circumstances (new relationship being the leading cause for ceasing active forum participation).
I've witnessed at least twice in the past year and a half departure of a prominent forum member with much fanfare and others bemoaning it as a "huge loss".  And a few weeks later everything goes on as normal, forum is still entertaining and no one even brings that person up anymore. A few months later, when the thread was started about one such member, it got only 3-6 replies.
Like I said: attention span is short these days and there is no such thing as "irreplaceable". There is always a shiny new interesting thing just waiting to appear.

Adult Forum has come long way since it started back in 2008. Yes, it is still a very open (and often graphic) exchange of opinions regarding sexual exploits, but it is more civilised these days.
which brings me to the point that original posted has made. There is a significant difference, in my opinion between "civilised" and "PC".
Here's a copy and paste of the post on AF from a few years back:

This was posted in Dec 2008 in this thread :

 Oh My Fucking God You Stupid Fucking Woman.....

You Reply To That Shit But Missed The Whole Fucking Point Of The Thread!!!!!!!!

I Really Don't Know How The Fuck You Manage To Run A Business You Dumb Idiot


Is that what you call freedom of expressing one's opinion?  Surely,not??
I don't care that someone is accustomed to speak this way or they don't have enough education-this is unacceptable and I don't want to believe that original poster is actually supporting this kind of behaviour. Besides, how exactly does forum  benefit from this language/attitude?

There are plenty of members who put forward a robust argument, but do so in a civilised way. Donald06 comes to mind: he argued many a point with me, but always respectfully. I may not always agree with him, but I certainly respect his right to have an opinion.

When someone blames a victim of violence for her own misfortune (insistently and repeatedly), it's not because he "just talks that way" or his lack of education. It clearly shows his attitude towards women (and not in a good way):"Like a compass needle that points North, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman" -Khaled Hosseini-A Thousand Splendid Suns. Well, maybe a sex industry forum is not the best place for people like that (just an opinion).

Sex Industry came leaps and bounds. Slowly it is becoming more accepted. The progress is painstaking, but it's well worth it.
I am passionate about my work. I try to educate people about it. Because in the end, it benefits everyone: happy WGs will make a client happy. People respond to the way they are treated in kind: if you respectful, you will receive the same in return. Often many fold.

That's why I encourage people to be respectful and considerate while addressing others and/or posting reviews.
It's all good and well to talk about "blunt truth" until it is directed at you specifically.
Some forum members expressed opinions as of late (to which they are perfectly entitled,of course), but I think they forget one small detail: as they do not participate in the industry directly, they are speaking from a sheltered safety of knowledge that's it's never going to be THEIR naked body described to the last stretch mark in crude detail, and no one is going to call THEIR breasts saggy and wrinkled and refer to THEIR "gape factor". You know what they say: walk a mile in some one's shoes first...

Sex Industry and escorts were always a subject of interest and fascination. This has been for many years a profession of the "shadows of night", not to be spoken about in polite company.
Hence quite a few guys wanting to get into WGs world, understand the "magic". Some of those guys turn into stalkers or blackmailers.
This is not an uncommon occurrence these days, prostitution is decriminalised in NZ and Australia and so girls are free to advertise their services/wares online. Many show their faces.

When I have decided 3 years ago to do sex work exclusively, I came clean to all my friends, acquaintances and family. Everyone knows EXACTLY what I do for a living.
I also write a blog where I am very candid about my life (personal and professional).
One of many reasons for this: I don't want to be a subject of any threats and/or blackmail.
We all know of a few prominent WGs here in NZ who fell victims to this and it destroyed their families and devastated their lives.
Still, being open does not shield me from stalkers, unfortunately. I've described my dreadful experience with one such individual who broke into my house repeatedly, all the while pretending to be my friend and even getting a job in the same restaurant with me (and I helped him get that job!).

I can deal with things like that pretty well, but I'd rather avoid this to begin with.
So when a prominent Forum member, who claimed to have never met me before, suddenly (without any provocation)  implies that he's not only SEEN me, but actually INTERACTED with me in my real, day-to-day life and refuses to say where, when and under what circumstances, what am I to think?
Is he trying to scare me: as in "big brother watching-I know who you are, I interact with you, but you have no clue as to my identity"??
Same with some random posting things like "I can see more dirt in your past than others can".
This will not be met with kindness- I value my Independence and piece of mind.
Probably, the guy is harmless, but how do I know?

I've said it before and I say it again: one must have just a bit of filter between the brain and mouth/fingertips. think before you speak/type.

We live in civilised society and we DO have to adhere to some basic norms and standards.

Here's an example (this been brought up on Punter Planet): Russians are often perceived by Westerners as grumpy, unfriendly,rude and sullen.
The reason for that is that we (Russians) are brought up to mind our own business. We don't waste energy on people we don't know or hardly know.
Unlike Americans' for example, we don't walk down the street with huge smiles plastered on our faces, making eye contact with everyone and sundry and saying "Hi" to everyone.
When I first moved to America, people often asked me :"What's wrong? You look upset". I couldn't figure out why, as I just sat/stood there with neutral expression, minding my own business.
I realised later that's because I wasn't smiling and engaging in eye contact/small (pointless) talk.
Same with greeting: in Russia, when we hardly know someone, we just give a short, curt "Hi" vs. doing the whole "smile,small talk" thing.

But I don't leave in Russia any more. So I make a conscious effort to act in a way that is acceptable in Western society. Some days it's a bigger effort than others, trust me.

Bottom line: we all should remember that decency and civility are values, too, just as much as freedom of opinion. Poisonous language doesn't advance our cause.





2 comments:

  1. I like it - spaces & time to take a breath in a Yana post !

    But seriously you're right. Forums can an intriguing study of humanity, particularly the politics and social conformity. Most don't understand or care and the core members take care of their own.

    As for the treatment of sex workers on many forums - it frequently makes me shamed to be male.

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  2. Hi, Courtesan. I'm happy to find your blog. I'm an escort and I've been searching the internet for people who have the same interests.
    Forums and blogs are indeed intriguing, because they are written from the heart!
    Greetings from Belgium x

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