- Preserving an independent adult internet;
- Documenting the sources of erotic material; and
- Digital curation of vintage erotic art.
Digital Curation Of Erotica
My first internet pastime was downloading sets of dirty pictures from Usenet. To assemble a "complete" image set was impossible: I was paying six cents a minute to Compuserve, running a 2400 baud modem. Most of my sets would forever be incomplete.
I think that warped something in my soul. Now, when I visualize the adult internet, I see it as an infinite thicket of incomplete erotic sets. Finding fragmented and dispersed erotic libraries, bringing them together, searching out the gaps, going back to primary sources -- there's nothing I like more. The "best" three images from some obscure source are in 10,000 places, and (if we're lucky) attributed properly in two of those places. The other seven images from that source might or might not be on the internet at all, and the text that was first published with them? Good luck! Finding those rare correct attributions, searching out the true source, assembling the complete sets, giving them context, and then publishing and archiving the entire package so it won't get lost again: this is what I most love to do in life. Presently I do much less of this curation than I would prefer, because it takes oodles of time (and often money) that I currently can't afford. Your Patreon support changes that equation. Thank you!
Documenting Erotic Provenance
The internet never forgets a dirty picture. But it gets very confused, sometimes, about where they came from.
Everything that's ever posted on the internet leaves a trail. But the trail is in soft mud, and it's always washing away. The Wayback Machine (love it though I do with a passionate lust) can only catch snapshots and fractions. Every broken link and missing website and deleted blog and banned Tumblr and failed social media platform is like a new bit of dead grey matter in the stroke-ridden brain of the internet. Interrogating that brain and expecting clear, simple, correct answers? Good luck with that! But it's a big brain, and much remains. I have a special skill, honed by years of pursuing my digital curation hobby, polished with many hundreds of paid research commissions, and reinforced by a quarter-century of close attention paid to the internet's dirty pictures. If you provide me with a dirty picture (art or photo, it doesn't matter) that's on the internet, I can identify the source of it about ninety percent of the time: artist, photographer, place of first publication, something significant about its origin.
I'm now offering this skill to Patrons. (See my Patron rewards for details.) And, though I've never before written in detail how I do it (this comes the closest), when this Patreon reaches its first goal, I will write an in-depth Patrons-only guide. Nothing can replace my twenty-five years of practice, but I'll do my best, offering a full list of the search tools I use and writing down the best summary I can of my search strategies.
I currently strive to provide a good attribution for everything that is posted to ErosBlog, but I'm pressed for time. Many days, the work commitments that pay my bills leave me just a few moments to work on the blog. Thus, too often, my attributions are weak. Even when I identify the source or an artist, I may not take the time to find a good link, or to provide complete context. Your Patreon support will change that. The more support I get, the more time I can take and the more detail I can provide in attributing the erotic material that appears on the blog.
Preserving An Independent Adult Internet As The Open Web Declines And Fails
Independent erotic expression on the internet faces many threats. Sometimes I write about them, because that's the only potentially-helpful thing I know how to do. The two specific threats that most firmly grip my attention are:
1) Search discrimination, which began when Google started assuming people do not want to see adult results unless they use an unrelated explicit keyword along with their actual search term. It now finds its expression in an infinity of apps, devices, and social media platforms that simply exclude adult content from their walled gardens or blacklist most adult keywords in their internal search tools, predictive algorithms, and even their voice recognition engines.
2) The #Pornocalypse, which is what I call the tendency of closed-platform internet companies that welcome adult content at first (using our stuff to accelerate platform adoption and growth) and then later evict all of us stinky sex-people once it's time to start courting the prudish/squeamish Wall Street or Silicon Valley moneybags investors. Exclusion of adult expression by social media companies and walled-garden device/app platforms is an increasing crisis for the independent adult web as an ever-larger proportion of internet traffic moves into these apps, the ones (which, increasingly is all of them) that run on smartphones and have been forcibly Bowdlerized by the platform blue-noses who gatekeep the proprietary walled-garden app stores.
When I started blogging, I didn't set out to be a journalist; and indeed I've been known to vociferously disclaim any journalistic pretensions. But I approach journalism most closely when reporting on the ways in which adult expression is made unwelcome on the modern internet. Print journalism never touches this subject and the "mainstream" internet press usually doesn't notice these stories or doesn't fully understand them. Somebody has got to do it right, and too often that somebody is me. As with my other two blogging passions, your support will help me to do more of this, and to do it better.