- Obviously, the friendships and community that have come about because of HNT would be its biggest strength, I think. Generally, most people who gave HNT a shot, did so with some trepidation, but found that there was an entire community happy to meet them. I think that if anyone didn't feel it, it's because they didn't really try to interact with those who stopped by. That sort of faded some by the end, and many discontinued because they didn't feel they fit in. And that's too bad. As far as friendships go, I think we've all made some true friends through all of this. I've been fortunate in that I've got 6+ years of HNTers I can call 'friend'. Of course, that's long enough to have lost some friends in that time, too. And that's too bad. I still find it amazing how many HNTers from those first couple of years are still friends on FB, commenting on each other almost daily, in spite of leaving HNT behind long ago.
- Some people look better in front of a camera than others. That's just a fact of life. But everyone who joined in, whether showing all they had, or restricting what they showed, had to develop a bit of narcissism. Something that we might not have had when we started. Confidence was bred out of that, and I think we all came out stronger at the end of it. Did that come from gratuitous, generic comments? Sometimes, sure. But it sure beat out anything negative that occasionally popped up!
- Photography skills improved over the years. Which is not to say that everyone became photographers. Many people got fancy DSLR cameras over time. Some learned how to use them. Others didn't. Many learned the basics of Photoshop. Others learned the secrets of Photoshop. Others didn't. Some learned that it's not the camera that makes the picture--it's the person taking the picture. Even if it's with a tripod and timer. There's been a great deal of variety in the styles and types of pictures taken. While HNT was never intended to be "artsy", I'm glad that many HNTers took that route from time to time.
- Without HNT, I know I would not be exposed to the lifestyles that many of you lead. Some of you are real freaks! ;-) I'm not judging good or bad--just that life is far more complex than I was led to believe when I was growing up. I think that many of us had our eyes opened to that as well.
- In the early days, when half-nekkidness was rather fresh and unknown, it drew attention around the internet. A quarter-page article in an Indian business magazine; a radio talk-show host in Winnipeg talked and blogged about it; it got mentioned in passing on Dr. Phil; Dr. Gregory House even mentioned it one week (sort of, but not really, but I'll take it!); numerous sex blogs made mention of it; it was discussed on at least two internet radio shows; the list goes on and on. Usually positive, but sometimes slammed. HNT stood tall throughout...
- The secrets. Oh, man, the secrets. I've always claimed that when I write the HNT tell-all book, I'd become a millionaire. Either from people buying it to read it, or from the money people would pay to not let it see the light of day. No worries...that won't happen. But I do know the secrets. It's part of my nature. It's what I do with the symphony. I know all the inner workings. I think that trust sprung from OHNT. There's a huge number of HNTers who have sent submissions there that would never admit to it, or wouldn't even hint that they even knew what OHNT was. Even I was blown away by some of the people who joined in there! That takes some trust in me. And I don't take that lightly. Out of that, in chats and emails, I've learned that there's an awful lot that goes on that we don't generally know about. Secret blogs, secret affairs, secret rendezvous, backstabbing, gossiping, screenshots from Twitter, screenshots from texts, sharing emails received from super-skeevy guys (thanks for the term, Ms. I)--only to find them almost verbatim from someone else earlier, etc., etc. Gentlemen, some of you really need to develop your schtick--many of you are just getting laughed at behind your backs...
- I liked the marketing technique that HNT became. It's a long held belief that "sex sells". Not really a whole lot different here. Except that in most cases, "sex" would be too strong a term. There's not one of us who did HNT who didn't get some sort of a bump in our stats. There are many who got disillusioned by people only coming by on Thursdays for pictures, and not sticking around to read their writing. That's the problem with "sex sells"--if the product (the blog) isn't interesting, people won't come back. There's many who dropped out of HNT over the years who have huge followings. Their product is interesting. There's others who dropped out and their blogs floundered. Their product is not interesting. Of course, you can then get into the whole debate about why the blog is being written in the first place--for themselves or an audience. And there's all sorts of different answers to that. However, I still believe that HNT was as much a marketing tool as anything. And some people used it quite successfully!
- I loved some of the relationships of HNTers. There's a good number of spouses/significant others that do it, either together or separately. Did you know we had a mother/daughter team who helped take each other's HNTs (not as raunchy as that sounds, pervs!)? Or a few sets of sisters who HNTed? We even had a brother/sister duo that HNTed (not together, of course). And a few cousins!
Now here's where you might want to quit reading...
THE NOT SO GOOD
For six and a half years, I've pretty much kept this stuff to myself, with an occasional chat with some trusted friends. Much of what I see on the negative side comes from the hidden side of HNT. From the secrets I mentioned above. From the chats and emails I've received over the years. And the mind-numbingly repetition of words and phrases, used from woman to woman...
- I am disappointed in the number of people that never "got" what HNT was. Even up to the last days. I question if most of these people ever glanced at the guidelines (see that tab at the top of my blog--"HNT Guidelines"?). The current attempts to keep HNT going appear to be spearheaded by those who don't "get" it.
- It didn't happen a lot in the early years, but enough that it still sticks in my mind. The nasty commenters/trolls. While 99.95% of HNT comments were complimentary, those that weren't tended to be quite nasty, mean, and totally unnecessary. And almost exclusively from non-HNTers. More recently, any nastiness tended to be aimed more at blog content than HNT pics. Regardless, trolls should be strung up!
- I really dislike the long-time lurkers that don't HNT, or worse, don't blog! There's quite a few of them, and really, they're harmless. But it smacks of hiding behind the curtain in a back-room peep show. Sneak in, get their jollies, sneak out.
- I have an intense hate for the guys that misrepresented HNT as "theirs". That enticed new HNTers by simply saying it was a day to show boobies. With no mention/regard of the guidelines, or even about upping themselves each week. Fortunately, and to their credit, a number of women either dropped out of HNT, or altered their participation in it, when they found out the truth. Too many of them were made to feel uncomfortable, because they wanted to "fit in". Others, on the other hand, didn't really care that they'd been duped and continued on anyway.
- I really dislike the number of HNTers (both male and female) who don't recognize the line between fantasy and reality. There's been one or two guys who have actually shown up unannounced and unwelcome on a woman's doorstep, thinking that whatever cyber-playing they've done allows them them to do that. Requires a great deal of stalking, too. And there's plenty of women we've read about who are lamenting the fact that their cyber-lover has disappeared. Probably because he's too busy taking care of his other cyber-lovers. The line shouldn't be that hard to see, and crossing it is rarely a good idea.
- Speaking of lines--I HATE some guys' assumptions that if a woman posts some sort of classy half-nekkid (or more) picture for HNT, it's an invitation to ask all sorts of inappropriate questions or spout all sorts of juvenile comments like they were in junior high again. Or that they must accept unsolicited cock shots. We've lost so many HNTers because of that. They didn't join in on HNT to be subjected to that. There's just a common decency line that shouldn't be crossed.
- I hate that, for some, HNT was nothing more than a meat market. There's an entire post that could be written about this rant, but I won't do that.
- There's the guys that I call the con men. They're like pedophiles standing outside the playground, waiting with a bagful of candy for the kids. These guys put the effort into emailing HNTers (particularly new ones), seeming like "they care", and befriend them. It doesn't matter what's going on in the HNTer's lives--they've experienced it too, and are more than happy to give advize. It gives them a foot in the door, and they don't seem as sleazy, despite their ulterior motives.
- Probably the most frustrating thing that's happened to me is the amount of misquoting and assuming that certain bloggers have attributed to me. People like to only hear/read what they want. A couple of examples:
- The Mystery Guest spot has always been fun, and when I first started, I had MGs ready for weeks in advance. Anyone who wanted to be MG just had to let me know. After awhile, I had to make requests, and sometimes they didn't get filled. But I was never flat-out refused until one day someone questioned why I would choose her. She seemed offended that I would ask her to participate. Like I should have asked her much earlier. I was flabbergasted. She assumed I had some sort of hidden agenda going on. After awhile, it became apparent that she had other issues with HNT in general, in spite of her continuation...
- I've been accused of having a bias against "sex bloggers". Nothing could be further from the truth. This was based on a post I made a couple of years ago that far too many HNTers considered themselves "sex bloggers", and I still hold to those thoughts. But I never, ever said that I disliked them. Didn't matter. Word got out, primarily from one person, that I didn't want "sex bloggers" involved in HNT. In reality, if she felt there was some sort of bias against certain "types" of HNTers, then it was her own insecurities that told her that. To this day, I don't know where that came from--it wasn't me, and I don't recall seeing anything like that in the community.
- I've been quoted as saying that I didn't care if someone took over HNT after its retirement. Wrong. Never said that. I said that I didn't care if people continued to get half-nekkid on their sites (who am I to tell someone what they can/can't do? or when?), and would hope they would, but that HNT was officially retired. Still holds true.
- There's been instances where a commenter has expressed one opinion in my comments, yet spouts all over Twitter something totally opposite. In an attempt to look "good" to the HNT crowd (ah, those pesky Twitter screenshots that someone keeps sending me...).
- There's plenty of guys whom I wish never found HNT. They offered nothing of value to it. They caused all sorts of strife for many. They had a super "ick" aura about them. Many of you can come up with your own list. That doesn't include the many followers here, or at OHNT, that came from porno sites. Yes...OHNT has been listed on a couple of porno link sites. Ick.
P.S.--Since these are MY views and opinions of the past 78 months, and HNT is retired, and I'm not really interested in your views and opinions on this, I'm not taking comments. Havaniceday!