us and them – collaboration or competition in the online space


In the time since the humble beginnings of this effort a solo personal blog there have been many, other naturist/nudist bloggers have come along in the online space. A significant number of those have since disappeared. On several occasions there were invitations offered to collaborate, and in almost every instance the offer was rebuffed. Of those blogs, most have either disappeared or are no longer updated. The reasons given for choosing demise over partnership were many and varied but still the result was the same. Those blogs and websites disappeared into the internet graveyard of well meaning intentions. One Tumblr blogger observed

It seems that tumblogs and, especially, nudist tumblogs have a remarkably short shelf life. I’ll follow or favorite a page only to find in a few months it’s been deactivated without warning or fanfare. Granted it’s very to create a tumblr and equally easily to deactivate it when you grow board. I’m sure there are millions of for deactivating one, but I’m curious about the long-running survivors.

Don’t need clothes

Recently someone we have partnered with  at clothesfreelife.com tweeted this

Video killed the radio star and the internet is killing the clothes free world.

The subsequent conversation about the intent behind the tweet got me thinking about how effectively do nudists and naturists collaborate versus compete in the online space. The internet has allowed anyone with a little effort to start blogging or other gain a presence online. Over time that has only become easier with all the blogging and social media platforms. Anyone with an email address is given the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions. Starting blog or social media account may be easy but as observed above maintaining a blog with quality content is another matter.

The challenge of  maintaining a blog with interesting content and committed readers takes work. On the surface it seems easy. Open an account on blogger, wordpress.com or some other blogging platform put your name on it and and start writing. What could be easier than that? But life can sometimes get in the way and interrupt the writing cycle, it certainly has for this writer. What if no one reads what you write or even cares? How do you keep readers coming back and interested, especially if writing about a single or niche issue?

A solution to that intense effort is collaboration. However, examples of collaboration among naturists and nudists in the online space is as limited as it is in the rest of the society. Nudists and naturists online seem to readily TALK about the equality and commonality of the community, but evidence of those values expressed in actual collaboration seem elusive. It seems we are all being challenged by the rampant individualism and exclusion taking over as a global worldview. “I don’t have time to work with you because I have some thing important to say and I want people to listen. I have some minor points of disagreement with you about the minutia of philosophy so I have to do my own thing rather than collaborate.”

While some say, “I need to go my own way,” others have chosen to imitate rather than collaborate. I have seen one site after another launched using the same format even sometimes similar logos in an attempt to capture an audience based on the active presence of clothesfreelife.com in the online space. Many of these imitators often disappear quickly as well or they drift into the seedy side of the internet where blogs are masquerading as naturist/nudist clothes free blogs but using naked pictures of others and some pics from porn sites in order to get or keep traffic. The saying goes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I like to think that collaboration is.

All these leads me to wonder, what kind of impact could be made if we actually learned to collaborate rather than compete. Fortunately, as often as I pause to ponder that possibility there have been some people who have seen the common good and benefit over collaboration and reached out to join in this effort to put out quality material relating to clothes free living that give life to naturist ideals and nudist practice. There is hope, and it comes from varied sources and in diverse forms. My co-editor and women’s issues contributor an African American woman who only two years ago knew nothing of clothes free living; a prolific writer of naturist fiction living in Europe; an accidental nudist art model, and bee keeper; and more recently a journalistically minded newbie nudie from across the pond; an Indonesian man pursuing clothes free life in a place where it isn’t readily accepted; a barefooter turned nudist exploring ways to positively share his clothes  free life; An African American man with a fresh perspective. All of these people could produce blog material on their own and some do. Still they have chosen to collaborate towards a greater good. We don’t all agree on everything and have very different backgrounds. But the idea of simple nudity and clothes free living as we express it, giving life to naturist ideals and nudist practice is a platform for them to share their thoughts and ideas with the broad audience we have developed.

That is just one of the benefits of collaboration. Our contributors raise their online presence and visibility through the connection with this site. They get a platform for sharing ideas promoting naturism and clothes free living without the overhead of maintaining or marketing and promoting a blog. They get the support, encouragement and inspiration of other writers. They receive access to our other platforms like podcasting to broaden their reach. If collaboration appeals to you and you desire to collaborate with us it couldn’t be easier. Learn what we are looking for from contributors. Let me what you think about collaboration versus competition as seen through my eyes.

About the author: Verified member Moderator Earl D

Founder, editor in chief, news curator clothesfreelife.com.


12 Comments
  1. SimonT avatar
    Simon T 2 years ago

    I think there are a few too many assumptions made in this article about the hows and whys of why people write blogs. Why does a blog need to be constantly updated? Why does it need to stay relevant? Why is it a negative thing that blogs ‘go dry’ and appear to be abandoned? The text is still there…it still shows up in Google searches. The text will still mean something. It still exists, if it hasn’t been ‘taken down’ of course. My blog was created with a rush of postings that I had previously written elsewhere and then posted together as a fresh start. I’ve blogged only rarely since then. Does that make the blog any worse in quality? Any article however old can be relinked and immediately made relevant again surely? For these reasons I don’t get the argument as to why collaboration is any ‘better’ than individual work. In fact individualism is surely a strength of blogging from the naturst community where the diversity shows through in the variety of different websites and blogs. Granted you have a lovely diversity here too, but is it any better than seeing individual content from each on their own page. I can’t see it. Furthermore, collaboration may be a good word to use as you see it because it sounds like equality but in reality it isnt because there always has to be a ‘chief’ if everything goes on one site. Sorry to have to blunt about this, but what happens if heaven forbid something happens to the chief that he/she is unable to ‘stay in the job’. Is it easy to pass everything over to a deputy? Surely individual writings and blogs avoid this. I guess fundamentally the naturist community does need to come together in some very important ways – campaigning and education are two for which a collective voice has impact. However, the views, recollections and stories of individuals as show through in blogs do not require this collective effort in the same way. I initially put my newest blog on the myclothesfreelife website, but having thought about it some more I think i’ll stick to my own blog from now on. It’s nothing against the website itself, but given collaboration versus individualism, I think I’ll stay in control of my content and simply let searches and links find their way to it where necessary. GOOD question though. Thanks

    • Earl D avatar Author
      EarlD 2 years ago

      Interesting comment Simon given our recent debate. There is no need to apologize for being blunt. We find blunt, transparent thoughts are essential to honest healthy dialogue and are not afraid to have disagreement. To respond to your comment at hand. Blogs Ned to be updated because that is the nature of the blogosphere don’t take my word for it. Google effective blogging tips. When a blog or site stops being updated it will be completely lost among the millions of other pages returned in a google search because search engines stop indexing it because there is nothing new. So a search on nudism is more likely to show hundreds of p*rn results before it would get round to showing a single page from a blog WP that is no longer updated. So that isn’t an assumption it’s fact. Again don’t take my word for it ask any search optimization expert.

      As for someone collaboratioping with this site. Everyone who posts a piece on this site retains their rights to it and can ask for it to be removed at any time. We state that upfront on our contribution information page. In the past we had a very visibility disagreement with a contributor that is still visible on this site. I offered immediately to relinquish any and all rights to the individual,s contribution and remove them immediately. That is unheard of anywhere in terms of group or collective blogs of this kind. Every contributor is told we do not claim exclusive rights to anything they produce for this site with one exception. If a galley copy of a book is provided by us for review, the reviewer is not free to publish the review on another site including their own without permission. If the reviewer is reviewing a book they purchased they may publish wherever they want to. The majority of our contributors produce other material for other sites including their own blogs so we aren’t calling for a folding in of any individual blogs into this one. By definition collaboration that would not be collaboration. Collaboration does not require to elimination of individual efforts rather it’s individual efforts coming together for a greater impact. Simply put what I am getting at is not the either/or that you seem perceive. Rather than collapse individual efforts in CFL I hope we can expand the reach of the individuals who contribute to it.

      If you read the user agreement on myclothesfreelife.com the same is true of the user data there. We don’t claim ownship of any user data there and a user can delete any data or their account at any time should they desire. I know for a fact that is not true of another popular “not really naturist ” social site where I was not allowed to delete my account when I wanted to leave and my pictures and blog posts were captured by that site.

      Finally to answer the question of what happens when or if the leader goes away. I can assure you we have a succession plan in place and there is someone who believes in the mission and vision of this site, knows the inner workings and can step in to take the reins were I not be able to continue. I don’t know that the same can be said of other similar efforts with our scope or reach.

      All that being said I don’t believe for a moment that collaboration is everyone’s cup of tea. Nor is everyone who inquires about collaborating a good fit for this one. However what I do believe is if each of us own do our own thing then the effort will remain fragmented and less effective than it could be. That’s OK if that works for the individual but it may not work for the promotion of the natural freedom of simple nudity or call it naturism/nudism if you will. That I believe requires a collaborative effort. Bottom line I ENCOURAGE COLLABORATION EVEN IF IT ISN’T WITH US.

      • SimonT avatar
        Simon T 2 years ago

        Ok there some good points here, but I think you are overestimating the number of people who care about a blog’s ‘reach’. You’re a social media hound. I bet you love looking at analytics and such, but I think the vast majority of folks write a blog as they would write a diary. It’s not in the reach but in the writing of it?

        • Earl D avatar Author
          EarlD 2 years ago

          I agree with you 100% for the individual that just wants to write a web log (the origins of the word blog) they don’t need to collaborate with anyone. That’s not who would benefit from collaborating with us. But if someone starts blogging about a niche subject related to naturism and nudism in order to promote that aspect or benefit of nudism naturism and clothes free life then they can benefit from the reach and resources that can come from a cooperative effort. We offerred free podcasting opportunities to anyone wishing to do a podcast on related subject. That was a great opportunity for an enterprising blogger to do something like “naturism in my neck of the woods” or naturism & gaming but no one took us up on it. Every podcast could have info about that person’s blog and be a way to bring traffic back to their site. That’s what I am talking about when I say collaboration. It is joint individual energies for a great good and impact. But that seems to lose our to do my own thing every time. Which is fine except if we want to increase the visibility of the cause we are promoting with a higher quality level of stuff. Because if we are being blunt some of the stuff in naturist blogs only warrants reading by the people who wrote them and maybe their closest of friends or family.
          BTW don’t actually enjoy looking at analytics but it is a chore that is required to figure out what’s connecting and what’s not.

          • SimonT avatar
            Simon T 2 years ago

            Maybe there just aren’t that many clothes-free enterprising bloggers. Maybe it’s a big deal just talking about it openly in the first place in a ‘family/friends blog’ way and thats good enough. The national organisations have the exact same problem. BN suffers because of a massive dearth of content and enthusiastic providers of content. I’m afraid there’s no easy cure except one…reward/recognition. Get those big competition prizes ready!

  2.  avatar
    Bill Bowser 2 years ago

    I don’t believe a debate whether collaboration or competition among nudist bloggers is a worthwhile endeavor while those who participate, or show interest, in nude recreation or clothesfree living hide in their closets and pretend to have nothing to do with nudism. We nudists are a very timid lot who act like our lives will be ruined somehow if our secret lifestyle is revealed. Consequently we accept the discrimination of bigots who misunderstand our lifestyle and face prosecution because of the laws they’ve had enacted if we dare to remove our clothes somewhere someone might see us.

    I believe our time would be better spent creating an activist advocacy organization to promote nudism, and bring attention to a very large group of people that has so far remained anonymous. We need to take some pages from the gay rights movement play book, and stand up for what we believe in.

    • Earl D avatar Author
      EarlD 2 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Bill. It interesting thought because i figured that what describe would require collaboration in order do become reality. That is in fact what was the move for the LGBTQIA movement that pushes them over the top. It stopped being about just gay men or lesbian women and included bisexual and transgender people as well. Recently the coalition has expandered further to include queer, Intersex and genderfluid or asexual individuals. I see no such coalition being built anywhere in the nudist/naturist community. So I am curios how you would build the activist platform you describe?

      •  avatar
        Bill Bowser 2 years ago

        Perhaps I didn’t make my point clear. Let me elaborate.

        I’m sure that bloggers who advocate for wider acceptance of nude recreation and clothesfree living have some positive effect, and perhaps there might be some benefit to getting independent bloggers to collaborate, but I think that instead of just talking about naturism we ought to be doing something to improve our situation.

        In the late 1980s two psychologists wrote an magazine article which described a strategy for the gay rights struggle in the U.S. There were several aspects to it, some of which were very deceptive, but it proved to be very effective because so many people were willing to identify with the movement and demand better treatment. So far a vast majority of nudists have been unwilling to “come out of their closets”, they prefer to hide their participation in naturism, so we make zero progress.

        We need to get organized and adopt a strategy to gain acceptance of our lifestyle, and then we need to confront the rest of society until we get some satisfaction. We need an activist organization. According to a recent poll the number of people who have participated in some form of nude recreation far exceeds the number of people who identify themselves as LGBT, but hey have much more political power, because they refused to remain anonymous. Without more political power our situation can not improve.

        • Earl D avatar Author
          EarlD 2 years ago

          Thanks again for taking time to read and respond to my comment. I think I understand what you are saying but what I don’t understand how you get political power without collaboration. I am probably just slow but it seems to me the strategy you describe was built of collaboration to gain more political clout. If memory serves the “activist” arm of the LGBTQIA movement was a collaborative effort not just a public pronouncement. Again I am not disagreeing with your position saying that activism is needed. I am interested trying to figure out how the polls numbers become anything that spurs change or how an activist organization gets any clout without collaboration. So if you don’t mind continuing the conversation to help me see the path that you envision I would appreciate the insight. My perspective is as good a place to start working at collaboration and can bring people from many different places into a critical mass for change. I hope that clarifies what I am getting at.

  3. hontouniheart avatar
    hontouniheart 2 years ago

    I was listening to a Freakanomics podcast episode this morning that spoke to the tendency to fetishize the novel — always doing new things rather than valuing maintenance. It made me think about this article. The sense I get is that many naturists/nudists want to do something “novel” and be independent rather than collaborate and engage in a dynamic (although never stagnant) “maintenance” of community efforts. Competition to feel significant and unable to maintain sight of their value when in the collective.

    I’m finding that individual efforts furthers ignorance, to be honest. I’ve seen the same narrow assumptions and attitudes recycled over and over again from “new blog” to “new blog.” And because people are so focused on doing their own “new” (but not new) thing, they never learn anything, because doing your own thing means you don’t have to interact with other people. It has gotten to the point where I don’t talk about naturism or nudism anymore when I’m in conversation with people in my world. I just talk about everyday life and how I happen to engage it clothes free. To be quite honest, I refuse to bring more people into a conversation where the dominant individual voices perpetuate the same misconceptions and attitudes. I’m done with it.

    I would have never learned anything if I hadn’t gotten into this collaboration. Others’ posts have been so informative to me, because SHOCK AWE I don’t know everything. The problem is that other people don’t seem to get that they don’t know everything, either.

  4.  avatar
    All-Nudist 2 years ago

    As we’ve said before, you’re doing a very good job here! A variety of contributes offers several viewpoints that folks can identify with.

    Some years ago All-Nudist considered setting up a sort of ‘network’ or collaboration website to accomplish this. We found, however, that though most nudists/naturists share common values, and there are many legitimate sites with some good offerings, but other aspects of their philosophy conflicts with our view of mainstream social nudism.

    All-Nudist attempts to remain a benchmark for MAINSTREAM social nudism as it’s experienced TODAY by most, and that doesn’t leave a lot of room for disparate ideas of what nudism/naturism SHOULD be. We have debated some of these issues, and posted links to many articles though we don’t necessarily agree.

    Our difficulty is that our site began as merely a listing of links to good nudist sites for newcomers and grew from there. Our main purpose is to give newcomers a grounding in basic social nudism while leaving the less mainstream ideas to others. We cannot endorse every variation that some malcontent wants to happen to make things better for THEM.

    That would be like asking the Pope to endorse Islam as a valid extension of Catholicism!

    OK, too much banter. You’re doing a good job of mixing those ideas, and that could be good for whatever social nudism evolves towards. But we concluded that in order to officially ‘network’ with other sites we would automatically lend our endorsement to those we disagree with, sometimes vehemently.

    Instead, we list sites that we mainly approve of (with disclaimer), and share articles that we approve of, plus some we don’t. It apparently works since, until we closed our .com site, All-Nudist was the world’s #1 ranked website in our category, whatever that means. Over 4 million visits ain’t so bad!

    As you mentioned in your article, websites come and go; we’ve seen them too. Some are very good but the webmaster just gets burned out, or has nothing else to say. Our site reached that point a couple of times but we kept going. Now we’ve downsized and offer little new material written by us. Health and other issues contributed to that.

    That’s why we’re happy to see fresh blood getting involved and keeping the ball rolling! Where it’s going to roll is yet to be seen, but we have high hopes!

    • Earl D avatar Author
      EarlD 2 years ago

      Thanks for the comment I guess in writing this piece I was aware of or including the malcontent variations you describe. If dare say that if you did a survey and asked people what mainstream social nudism you would get many and varied responses.
      IMHO the mainstream social nudism you describe doesn’t really exist anymore except in the mind of a dwindling few. To take a crack at what I am suggesting using your argument the current Pope has made several overtures to the Islamic community and initiated cooperative efforts. So if the pope can do that what’s stopping the nudist/naturist community.
      It is my view that in the absence of such a collaborative effort others some of the very people you describe as malcontent have stepped in the that space and claimed it as their own. Ultimately each going there own way has shown itself to be a lose lose proposition. So you are right to ask what does the future hold? I’d like to think there could be a bright future if we could learn to collaborate. EarlD

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