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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

The pompous whorearchy of many of Nevada’s legal prostitutes is well-known and widely-despised in the sex work community, but they’re usually just ridiculous and pitiable poseurs rather than creatures awful enough to earn a place in my Hall of Shame.  Last week, however, I had the misfortune to discover “Kiki Lover” who instantly became the 12th member of my Hall of Shame (and the first one since last August) by tweeting this into a thread where sex workers were discussing rapist cops:

Yes, that’s a whore taking the side of violent pigs and essentially implying that their victims “asked for it”.  She then went on to helpfully explain in a thread started by a black sex worker that she is a “real” African:

I think I’ll just leave it there; a picture is worth 1000 words and all.

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I’ve noticed an annoying trend of late:  people including my screen name on Twitter so as to summon me into an argument they’re having with prohibitionist wackos.  Please don’t do that.

No, that isn’t nearly strong enough: Don’t Fucking Do That.

There are a number of reasons why this is a colossally bad idea, but I’m just going to list a few of them.  First, I don’t debate prohibitionists because it lends them credibility and gives them a platform from which to regale people with their nasty “sex trafficking” wanking fantasies, yet accomplishes absolutely nothing positive because the head of a prohibitionist is “so stuffed with the reality-denying rubbish of his belief system that there is no room for facts“.  Next, I’ve already been over all this territory hundreds of times, and it’s an obscene waste for me to even be asked to “restate the content of my entire professional oeuvre in convenient 140-character sound bites” when it’s all right here on my blog.  I’m not a fucking monkey to dance for the amusement of internet randos with absolutely no power to change bad laws, nor am I an attack dog to be whistled up to dispatch annoyances you could easily just mute as I do.  It isn’t just that these people aren’t offering to compensate me for my valuable time, though obviously that’s bad enough; it’s also that (and this may be the most important point) I don’t fucking accept being told what to do by anybody, and the best way to get me not to do something is to demand, order, threaten, or attempt to trick, shame or intimidate me into doing it (and don’t even think of using reverse psychology on me, either).  I’ve always been this way; it’s one of the reasons my mother and I never got along, and why I so often ended up in the principal’s office despite being a straight-A student and a basically well-behaved kid, why no square job other than librarian ever lasted more than six months, and why every husband, boyfriend & male friend I’ve ever had has yelled at me at least once for flying up in a cop’s face.  I do not acknowledge that anyone has “legitimate” authority over me, so the second anyone acts as though they’re entitled to my time, energy, resources or (especially) obedience, any chance of their getting what they want goes down the toilet.  You want something from me?  Ask nicely, in private, and offer to compensate me.  But if the request is “please come beat up these idiots for me”, I’ll most likely just point out that it’s impossible to reason someone ought of a position he didn’t reason himself into, and suggest you mute them rather than letting them steal your time and energy.

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Community

How do I connect with other escorts in my area?  The few that I have reached out to for references, haven’t appeared to be too keen on continuing a conversation past the reference subject.  A point in any direction for support, friendship etc would be much appreciated.

I don’t believe there are any sex worker organizations in your immediate area, but the easiest way for you to start finding other sex workers to talk to would be Twitter.  If you follow me (@Maggie_McNeill) you will see that I interact with and retweet LOTS of other sex workers, some of whom may live close to you.  You can then follow other people and interact yourself, and even make good online friends (some of whom you may later meet IRL).  It’s a very good idea to do this; though it’s lucrative and flexible, sex work can be very isolating, especially in a criminalized regime.  And when you get overwhelmed by all the bullshit lies told about our work in the media, it’s good to have other ladies you can get a reality check from.  Twitter’s also a good way to keep up on what’s happening in our world; people post information on bad clients, stings, activist events, etc.  I think you’ll find it’s exactly what you’re looking for.  There is currently considerable concern that due to FOSTA Twitter may kick sex workers off as so many other platforms have, so you may also with to join Switter and also get contact information (phone, email, etc) from the friends you make so that if catastrophe happens you won’t be cut off.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Everyone kind of talked about the fact that she licked people.
–  Cheryl McGrady

I was surprised when I stumbled across this video last week, because I was beginning to think I was the only person who remembered Klaatu; the last time I tried to find their albums on Amazon (I guess about a decade ago) I turned up a big zero.  But after watching this video I searched again, and presto!  Two albums on CD to add to my wish list (and if someone gets there before you, don’t be afraid to scroll down for other good stuff you can get me).  The links above the video were provided by Missy MariposaMike SiegelScott GreenfieldDave Krueger (x2), and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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Backup

When Twitter censored my account last week (for an anti-government tweet it absurdly called “targeted harassment” of a building), I was forced to start a backup account; given what I’ve seen happen to others on the platform in the past few months, I was planning to do it anyhow just in case my primary one was shut down.  So I started the new account, followed myself, then simply followed all the same accounts as my primary account so my news-gathering would be unaffected; I DMed a number of the people I interact with regularly (locked accounts can still DM, they just can’t publicly tweet) and asked them to follow me, then continued as usual (and the publicity garnered 200 new follows on the main account while it was locked).  As of Tuesday morning I’m back to tweeting from the primary account, but I ask that those of y’all who use Twitter please follow the backup account as well; if Twitter continues to disfavor, shadowban, and censor sex worker accounts as they have been doing for the past couple of years, or even purge us as several other platforms have, it will be good to have a least a healthy fraction of my current Twitter following already in place at my fallback position.  And in the very near future, I’ll probably start a backup for the backup, just in case.

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Targeted

When I woke up Tuesday morning and checked my email, I found this ridiculous message from Twitter; it appears some Trumpist got his little fee-fees hurt by this comment and so tattled to Twitter, which responded in bizarrely disproportionate fashion by locking my account for a WEEK.  In case you’re wondering what this message (which you’ll note was a reply, not a general-audience tweet) is about, it was in reply to someone who stated that the federal employees forced to work without pay due to the so-called “shutdown” should go on strike.  As I told Elizabeth Nolan Brown,  “‘Targeted harassment’ of a government building of the most powerful Empire on Earth?…I had no idea I was so formidable.”  Despite the absurdity of the situation, it may be a harbinger of what sex workers have been worried about since FOSTA passed early last spring:  more eagerly-censorious companies like Facebook have been quick to throw sex workers under the bus, leaving Twitter as the last of the big social media outfits to tolerate us; this may be a sign that those days are coming to an end, and we may soon be purged from there as we have been from every other major social media platform.  I’ll be back tweeting as normal Tuesday morning, but in the meantime I’ve established a backup account to tweet from (and to build up just in case Twitter starts purging sex worker accounts), and I’d appreciate it if those of y’all who are on Twitter would follow me there as well.

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Melissa Mariposa is an escort and owner of Red Umbrella Hosting; she has also established and improved several other sites to help other sex workers, since our options have been steadily shrinking due to the war on whores.  I asked her to write an introduction to these sites because I’ve seen too many shady operators attempting to capitalize on the panic the US government has intentionally sown in our community.

As someone with an IT background, I knew as soon as FOSTA-SESTA passed that our web presence was in trouble.  Many mainstream web hosts have officially prohibited sex work related content while actually looking the other way, but I thought this might cause a shift towards enforcing those policies — as under FOSTA-SESTA, they become liable for that content.  Without hesitation, I cancelled my next 2 tours, acquired an offshore server, and was up and running before the weekend.  I spent most of my spring both migrating and rebuilding sites from the Internet Archive for those that had lost their free sites without warning, and as I was plugging away, I started to notice a change in ad sites.  EROS was making huge policy changes but staying silent (remember they had been raided six months prior by DHS and which we still do not know what is going on), TER had excluded US providers entirely, P411 was announcing “upcoming changes”.  It seemed our ad market was slowly folding one site at a time.

Then Backpage happened; they operated flagrantly with their servers in Arizona and we all paid the price.  While having an offshore setup does not make you immune in itself, there are definitely ways to maintain anonymity — otherwise  Pirate Bay would not have an almost 20 year running time.   There is a right way to do things, and Backpage did not do it.  At all.  And what I’ve since discovered (to my horror) is that none of the big ad sites in our industry were following the path laid out by internet pirates before us; no one is following best practices for a grey market site.  Not one site.  Most of them are hosted in the US, or they use Cloudflare which is a service that is in no way safe for sex workers.  The most well known escort ad sites grossed in the millions; Backpage made $135 million in 2014 alone, and sites like P411, TER, and EROS are also unquestionably in the 7 figure club.  I naively thought that these multimillion dollar businesses that get so much from us at the very least had a qualified IT person who understood the nature of what they were doing; I was wrong — and in retrospect, I was really fucking stupid to think that.  This was a sharp reminder of what I already knew:  No one is here for us, they’re here to make money off of us.  Sex workers aren’t exploited by our clients, we’re exploited by these sites, and some of the worst actors in this industry have been owners of some of the highest grossing sites.  Why do we put our money in the pockets of pimps and panderers?  Because they make us feel like we have to.  They aggregate false ads from our real ads on other sites, draw our clients in, we think that’s where clients like to look, so we make ads there and give them our money.

So I started looking around for legitimately offshore provider-run ad sites.  I was tired of putting my money in the hands of opportunistic dudebros, people who wanted to make a fast buck and should have known better, but didn’t.  I want to put my money in the hands of qualified women in IT who know our industry, know security, and who work to help us.  What I found was Have We Met, which had been around since 2016 (I was a beta tester, as I love the concept) but with strict policies that hindered them in the pre-FOSTA market.  I decided to reach out the owners (a provider and her partner) and they took me on as a silent partner.  I started implementing small changes to policy and pricing, and after a few months they asked if I would be interested in acquiring ownership of the site.  I happily accepted, and after some restructuring, Have We Met became what it is today:  A place where a provider can create a profile with their stats, website, and photos, and list themselves for free in up to 20 areas.  They can also write one single ad which is automatically listed in whatever areas they choose to list their profile; so if you’re touring 10 cities, you just add those cities to your profile, set up your ad, and the ad is automatically listed in those 10 cities when a client searches for providers — no expiration date.  Have We Met isn’t just an ad site — there is also a dual sided verification feature.  The provider and the client  are both asked eight basic, non-intrusive, non-sexual questions about the encounter involving subjects like punctuality, safety, and hygiene.  This is a checkbox only system with no room for textual fantasies of illegal activity.   After the verification is complete, it shows up on the provider’s profile to show future clients that others have found her to be clean, safe, reputable, and pleasant to be around.  Clients can pay a small fee to show verifications on their profile.  The questions clients are asked seem more helpful than what a simple “whitelisting” or “okay” provides, and I also felt this would provide a nice alternative to reviews whilst providing the assurance clients seek from them.  A “review” on the legal exchange of time for money and nothing more.  Verification without incrimination.

Meanwhile, I decided to also build a simpler site, something familiar which everyone knew the feel of, which could be completely managed from a smartphone because I know a lot of providers who don’t use computers anymore except to advertise.  So SWAN was born:  A familiar-feeling classified system where everything from searching to ad building can be done from the tiny computer in your pocket.  Ads are free, and all upgrades are under $10 (and you just so happen to get $10 credit free when you sign up for the site).  Like Red Umbrella Hosting, these sites require no ID to advertise and take no personal information to get started; they both offer free advertising, with optional paid upgrades with three methods of anonymous payment: physical gift card, crypto, and money order via mail.  I do not wish to tie your work life to your real life in any way; I don’t want your drivers license or pictures of your face with your work name written on it.  Those measures, used by other sites, are overly intrusive and unnecessary.  I have tried to approach building these sites from the angle of, “What do I as a provider want?” as well as asking others.  I welcome all feedback — positive and negative — on all of my offerings so I can continuously improve them.  I want to make tools that people want.

When FOSTA-SESTA hit, some of the popular blacklists began “cleaning up” entries that had titles such as “rape”, changing them to “bad date”.  In fear that we would no longer have an unadulterated blacklist, I set up OurList; I also have a site launching this week called Relax With Me, which you’ll just have to wait and see about (I will tell you that it involves advertising and another non-vulgar alternative to traditional reviews, and will also be free for providers).  Coming up in 2019 there are two large projects on the horizon for my company Trystworthy; Michael Fattorosi has speculated that within the next year our social media options will be gone, and I agree.  So I have been working with another developer on how to best start and implement a new social platform (NOT Mastadon) and am hoping to open something by the end of the first quarter at the latest.  The other project is completely under wraps for now, but you should be hearing something soon; it’s completely different and totally unrelated to any other offering I have and I am beyond excited.  My goal going forward is that I want to continue to offer useful tools to providers in this industry affordably, reliably, and transparently; all sites I build are fully functional for providers without a single dollar invested, and optional upgrades are exactly that:  Optional.  Advertising should not be your biggest overhead, a headache, or something you dread thinking about; it should be the easiest part of your job, and that’s what I am striving to do.   These sites are labors of love for an industry that has given me my entire life.  Building tools for the future is the best way I feel I can “give back”, and I will continue working towards this goal for as long as I draw breath.

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