Tickling Media Forum
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When the passion for tickling rises in us and we start looking for information about it online, our reference site is probably Tickling Media Forum (TMF), the largest online community for tickling lovers.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff, one of the co-founders, who told me about the genesis of the website.

1) Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself and your passions?

Sure 🙂 Like many of us in this community, I’ve been into tickling for my entire life. As far back as I can remember, long before there was an Internet I was fascinated (some might say obsessed) by the idea of tickling. For me it was about tickling girls. I obsessed about tickling girls the way other young men obsessed about kissing them.

Leggi tutto: History of Tickling Media Forum – The Most Important Tickling Website in the World

In my late twenties, I started a tickling production company called Magic Touch Productions and for about fifteen years I made tickling videos full time. At the time there were only a small handful of video makers and I was kind of a central figure in the growing community.

Outside of tickling, my two biggest passions are probably reading and video games. I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, and a fair amount of detective novels too. And I love video games, especially role-playing games. To me the most relaxing thing in the world is to lose myself in the world of a video game, playing out a whole other life.

Additionally, I’m low-key into chess, though I don’t play as often as I wish I did.

I’m also very into movies and the world of movie-making. I’ve written a couple of scripts that I tried sending around a few years ago – they ended up not going anywhere, but I still love deep diving into the process and the behind the scenes things that make a creative idea become a reality. If I could have any life for myself it would be writing movies and TV, but I think I came to the idea too late.

2) For those who are not familiar with it, would you describe Tickling Media Forum, and how it has evolved over time?

The Tickling Media Forum (TMF) is the primary home for the online tickling community. There are of course a lot of places online where people share content and stories, but I would say that the TMF is the central hub around which they all orbit to one degree or another, where all the different tickling groups have roots and representation.

It is a place where people can share content and stories, but it’s also a place to make friends and form relationships. One of the things that has surprised me the most about it is how it’s become a place for people to meet – many real life relationships have started on the TMF and many of our members over the years have met, fallen in love, and gotten married via the TMF.

I would say that over time it has evolved to become more of what it always has been – every year the content library grows, and new members join and meet. We have a thriving chatroom now where a lot of people connect with each other over our shared interest and end up meeting up IRL either for fun, or as the beginning of forming a long-term relationship.

3) How did the idea of creating a site dedicated entirely to tickling come about? What are the main difficulties you faced?

In the early days of the Internet, websites were generally small personal projects and there weren’t any search engines yet. So people would create a little site where they’d share as much content as they could. These small sites would come and go as their creator lost interest or couldn’t afford to keep them up – there was no such thing as free hosting back then.

Eventually a guy whose handle was Psycho came up with the idea of creating a single big site for sharing everything in one place. It started out as Tickle World, then that went away and some time later he came back with Tickle Universe. That also went away after a while, until a company called ezboard came along and started offering free space for people to create community-themed forums (somewhat like Reddit) and Psycho created the Tickling Media Forum and I was one of the people he asked to help run it.

After a while, ezboard realized you need money to run a huge website and they started bombarding people with ads and charging users to make them go away (somewhat like the YouTube of today.) It became a miserable experience and Psycho and I decided to take the TMF private. At the time I was making a decent living making videos so I took on the cost of launching us on a private server with our own forum software and the TMF as we know it today was born.

After about a year, Psycho decided he didn’t want anything to do with it and left the site, leaving me to run it. Fortunately for me, a member called Myriads reached out and said he’d been helping Psycho with the administration and volunteered to continue doing it. He’s still here today and still one of the keystones that support the forum. The other person I have to mention here is HisDivineShadow – he’s saved the forum many, many times over the years, in too many ways to describe here. Myriads and HisDivineShadow are both largely unsung heroes of the online tickling community.

The biggest challenges are technical, financial, and interpersonal – it’s expensive to run a site this large, and I’m not a technical person so when we have issues arise I depend on outside help.

And it’s very hard to create a community this large with so many different points-of-view and personalities. We all love tickling of course, but sometimes the specific lens that people view our interest through can lead to a kind of gatekeeping. We want everyone to feel welcome, and sometimes that can mean uninviting people who want to exclude others.

4) The site is particularly rich when it comes to reports of tickling scenes in popular culture and scenes concerning celebrities. Where does all this rich pool of content come from?

In short, it’s our amazing community. The content is sourced from all kinds of places online, but it’s the people who are motivated to share what they’ve found (yourself included – ticklescenes.com is a fantastic resource and as a fan of mainstream content myself I’m always quick to click through when I see you’ve made a new post.) They’re what drives the content. And having been around for so long (almost 25 years) we have a very, very deep history of content for people to browse.

So it’s kind of a feedback loop – contributors share the content, people come because they know it will be there, and the certainty of an audience inspires contributors to continue sharing.

5) Why would you recommend that a tickling fan visit the Tickling Media Forum?

We have something for everyone! And we’re always evolving, so if there’s something people think we should add to accommodate a new trend or interest, we add it.

A recent example is that many years ago (around 2014) someone suggested we should have a Casting Call section, for models and potential customers to connect. At the time we didn’t think there was enough activity to justify that so we decided not to go with it. But the world today is very different, and private sessions are now common, so when someone brought the idea back up we decided that it was something our community could make good use of. It’s a brand new subforum and a bit of an experiment but there’s already been some interest in it and I think it’s going to grow into a significant part of the TMF going forward.

6) Do you have contacts with tickling video companies and fetish models? Do you conduct promotional activities for tickling professionals?

I’ve made a lot of friends over the years, and had casual contact with a lot of companies and models. But I’m not active in that world anymore so I’m not super familiar with the newest players on that stage. I’d love to get more involved though and I hope the TMF will always be a place for people to launch their careers in those spaces.

Every once in a while people reach out to me for advice and I love that role, as a kind of elder statesman of the tickling community.

7) The site is very rich in tickling-related artist content: does it constitute a channel for fetish scene designers to promote themselves?

It absolutely does! We love promoting artists and helping them establish their brand. We have a vast library of content going back decades, and when an artist has accumulated a library of content they often reach out to us to give them a customized archive where they can showcase their work.

One of the things I’m proudest of is being able to give creative people an outlet for their passion for tickling. I know it’s not unique to the TMF now the way it was twenty years ago, but it’s still very important to me.


8) What are the goals of this site that you are proud to have achieved?

One of the most important things we accomplished was to make the community more accepting of /m content. When Psycho created his various websites, they were built around his own interest, which was /f exclusively. And twenty years ago there was a little bit of a stigma on male ticklees in our community. Myriads was the one who said behind the scenes, “This is ridiculous, we need rules that make sure people are comfortable with their fetish.”

So we drew a line in the sand and said everybody into tickling was welcome on the TMF, regardless of orientation, and anyone who tried to make someone else feel uncomfortable would be warned, then banned if they couldn’t adapt. I really believe that we have been an essential part of that transition in the online tickling community.

And we’ve also played a significant role in keeping the temperature low in the community as a whole. There’s always potential for rivalries and meanness, and there have been sites created from time to time by people who were annoyed by something about the TMF and wanted to do things differently. Sometimes they attack us and we never respond or react, and I think that has helped keep our culture from becoming like youtube’s, where there’s always drama bubbling up from different factions.

Another thing I’m really proud of is how we’ve evolved into a kind of time capsule/historical snapshot. I don’t know how many people would be interested in actually doing this, but you can go back to the beginning of any subforum on the TMF and see our community evolve. We have posts from 20+ years ago where we were celebrating having 800 people sign up.

Nobody thought there could be that many people into tickling. These days, according to Google Analytics, we get 250 thousand hits a month, and over one hundred thousand of those are unique visitors.

An interesting bit of Trivia about the TMF is that our General Discussion subforum was created after 9/11, because people needed to be able to talk about this huge event that had just happened, and the only place to do it was the Tickling Discussion forum, which felt inappropriate. And if you view that forum in reverse order, you’ll find that the very first posts are people reacting to what had just happened in New York.

And broadly speaking, I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve created a place for people who may feel like they don’t have a community. The TMF is home for everyone who loves tickling.

9) What are your views on the world of tickling online?

I’m really proud of everyone who participates in any part of the online tickling community. Over the years, it’s gotten easier for people to share their weirdness online, but it still takes courage, and everyone who does it is part of making the world more welcoming for people who share our interest.

10) What are your goals for the site in the near future?

We recently accomplished one of our most important goals, which was a major upgrade. I have to take a moment to brag about that because I’m really proud of how we look now and how much more modern we are. The new software we’re running on is amazing, and because it’s actively being developed there are always upgrades and addons that we’ll be able to tap into to add new functionality as the world of technology evolves.

I do wish we had more financing, so we could afford to try new things and build out some of the features that people love. If we had money, we could build a more user-friendly media library like what wikifeet has going on, and we could do a lot more for people trying to make real life connections. It’s kind of amazing that people are able to make our Personals forum work for them, considering how ill-suited to that it is conceptually.

I never thought the forum could last for over twenty years, but now that it has I have started thinking about what the next twenty should look like.
I think the most important thing is that we keep up with the times, without losing what makes us unique. Forums are tricky, because as people’s attention spans get shorter and gratification gets faster, I worry that people will lose their patience with the idea of browsing various subforums.

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