Ribbonfarm raises an interesting point about the status of subcultures in the mass surveillance age, and that got me thinking about the status of BDSM as a subculture.
Contrary to popular belief, subcultures are not vague constructs. They have a precise, if negative, definition: a subculture is a pattern of social order that is not worth codifying and institutionalizing for the purposes of governance or economic exploitation, under normal circumstances. So subcultures have historically relied on their obscurity, illegibility and unimportance to ensure autonomy and security.
The subcultural web is now being made legible and governable under the harsh light of Facebook Like actions. Just in time too, since the returns on coarser forms of political and economic exploitation are now rapidly diminishing.
The world of subcultures are about to be comprehensively explored, mapped, tamed and domesticated. The larger the subculture, the faster it will fall.