Over on Facebook, polyamory groups have been exploding in size and scope — enter Kotango, which aims to coalesce the social polyamorous community on a single site, away from judgmental monogamous eyes.
Polyamory Facebook groups are a great resource for new and seasoned poly people to discuss issues and topics related to nonmonogamous living. It looks like Kotango will seek to occupy a space on the social venn diagram between Fetlife (which is too BDSM and kink oriented for many poly folk) and Facebook (which, while very well-trafficked, can be unpredictable at best in terms of disclosure.) [Hat tip to Valleywag!]
Facebook has proven a very strong resource for polyamory discussion, with one large difficulty relating to group privacy settings. If a group is open, all but the very openly poly will be unable to participate, as discussions are accessible by any Facebook users. Most polyamory groups on Facebook opt to be “closed,” with membership approval required.
However, closed Facebook groups don’t prevent lookyloos and spies from creating fake profiles to join the group and do recon. More frustratingly, Facebook regularly suggests your friends join any group you’ve become part of — there’s simply no way to stop anyone from your mom to your boss from getting a notification in their sidebar stating you’ve joined the group “New York Metro Polyamory” and inviting them to join as well. Not all nonmonogamous people have the luxury of being “out,” so this issue looms large.
Kotango seems to represent a safe middle ground for poly people who worry about Facebook outings, but aren’t ready for the dick in your faceness of FetLife. Calfornian Crystal Witten tells the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Something about the narrative of monogamy didn’t seem right for me … On OkCupid, a lot of people found it off-putting … There’s that dynamic of having to explain your lifestyle over and over.”
Witten observes that being able to explore the culture and meet poly people outside a more sexualized space and without the immediate specter of dating has been a boon:
“I like the idea that it’s a safe place for people to poke around and get a feel for things … Not everybody is comfortable going to a sex party.”
Kotango is currently in beta, so we will report back with findings. Aside from this new poly network, just this week, OKCupid finally added a “strictly nonmonogamous” option for users who identify as polyamorous or otherwise don’t adhere to monogamy.