As an Official FetLife Greeter from early 2011-late 2012, this is one of the questions I was asked most frequently: how can I find (and be found by) other people in my community with whom I may be compatible. Here’s a great way to kick-start your search for your local community:
On your own profile page, click the link to your city, right below your nick. That will bring up a list of:
all kinksters who call it home,
any upcoming events happening there
any FetLife groups related to that place.
You can expand your search by clicking the state (or province) link. You’ll see the same list as above, plus a list of cities in that state or province. Similarly, your country link will have a list of states (or provinces, or regions).
You can easily “drill down” to a different city, or up to a neighbouring province or country. Note that FetLife place search is not aware of distances – it wil only return results for the specific city you choose.
Here’s what I suggest you do with the search results:
start with the list of “Potentially related groups”. Scan the groups for anything of interest and for different keywords you might want to use (For example, if the name of a region appeared in several descriptions, you might want to search for it.)
When you find an interesting group, read its description and rules. Check out any “sticky posts” the group has. (“Sticky posts” are posts that “stick” to the top of the list of group discussions no matter how recently they were updated.) If you like what you see, join the group. :-) Be careful to post according to the rules of each group, for example, some allow classifieds, some don’t. (Note: If you don’t want to get an email every time someone starts a new discussion in the group, deselect that from the group’s home page as soon as you join. You can always change your mind about the email notifications later by going to the group’s home page or to the settings section of your profile.)
Once you’ve joined the group, read discussions that interest you. Find posters who seem interesting and check out their profiles. See what events they may be going to and what other groups they may be in. On the basis of what you find, you can join more groups, RSVP to events, and/or contact the person.
check out the list of “Events” for your city. See if any of them interest you. Check out the people who have RSVP’d. If you want to attend, make sure you RSVP so they can check you out. ;-)
You can also click on “Events” at the top of any FetLife page. It’ll take you to a page of all upcoming events everywhere in the world. There are two other tabs at the top of the page: “Events Near Me” are events in your city, and “Events Friends RSVP’d To” is kind of self-explanatory. :-) (Update 9/13 – the way “Events Near Me” are calculated may have changed – I have seen events in nearby places mixed in with local results.)
If you go back and forth, following interesting links to and from group discussions to profiles to events, you’ll be able to make connections with people who interest you.
A very important part of being noticed is having a good profile of your own. Here’s a link to a good post on Profile Making 101.
The more you participate in groups and attend events, the more exposure you will get within your community (as you define it, by the groups you join). As an added bonus, how active you are factors in to how high up in search results you appear (for example, in a search for all kinksters in your city).
If you’ve been on dating sites, I know this all may seem kind of weird, LOL. John Baku, the founder of FetLife, conceived of it as a place for kinksters to meet and also as an “anti-dating” site. This interview with him explains the vision behind FetLife better than I could.
Addendum – although the focus of this post is how to use the site itself to connect with like-minded, local kinksters, by popular demand I am including some other resources here.
The #1 suggestion for meeting friendly folks in the flesh is to attend a munch! While you can find local munches using the suggestions above, here are some groups that can help you to learn what a munch is, what you can expect at a munch and how to find some in your local area:
The Novices and Newbies Group has some excellent information, including this collection of links to many frequently asked questions about munches.
The BDSM Glossary Group list definitions for the many words, phrases and acronyms used in the kink community. Check out their Glossary of Kink sticky posts in particular.
(Update 9/13) The FindaMunch website, which evolved from the Munch And Local Link (MALL) Directory Group lists a huge and ever-growing number of regularly scheduled events like munches.
I hope this is helpful. Your feedback is welcome!