It took a reminder from Bardfilm, aka KJ, my friend, collaborator and sometimes conspirator ;), to remind me that six years ago today, on June 8, 2005, Shakespeare Geek was born. It's funny (if a bit embarrassing!) to see how far we've come from simply reposting links and newsfeed articles, to becoming one of the most popular places on the net to come and talk about Shakespeare. We've got actors and directors, writers, professors and students, children and parents. I think we've done a pretty good job in demonstrating over the years that Shakespeare really is universal.
I never quite knew what I wanted this site to become when I started it, because every time I thought "Do I want to focus on [specific audience]?" I thought, "No, it's more than that. I don't want to alienate [people not in that audience]." I wanted a site for everybody. At the time, I assumed that this would imply a very non-academic slant, something geared toward the "parents working with their kids to help them with their Shakespeare homework" crowd. Why? Because I have no "cred", academically. Who am I to talk about Shakespeare? I have no degree in this, it's not my full time job. I'm not even a theatre geek. :) I just have a love for the subject.
Turns out, so do a lot of people :). And they all eventually find a home here.
I keep saying "our" and "we" and will continue to do so because the best content on this site comes from you folks Half the time all I do is ask the question - sometimes a good one, sometimes a stupid one :) - and you're the ones that deliver the good stuff. Often the discussion will quickly get way over my head, so I just sit back and enjoy watching the conversation take place. Other times we stumble across items that cause even the experts to learn something new. I'll always remember the post on Shakespeare Sports where Alan Farrar spotted a sports references in the sonnets that Carl Atkins, who wrote a book on the subject, had missed ("Should have been cited by at least eight editors," said Carl at the time). Stuff like that always amazes me. All I did was pose the question.
As the site has grown I've often considered rebuilding it on a different platform, getting away from the blog idea and moving to more of a dedicated platform. But to do that would be incredibly disruptive to what we've built here, so I keep putting it off. Still, though, our little corner of the Shakespeare universe has grown....
- Not By Shakespeare where we set the record straight about who should get credit for stuff like "When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew," because boy, it ain't Shakespeare.
- Hear My Soul Speak My book! Tired of only ever hearing "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments," I took it upon myself to compile all the best wedding quotes from across all of Shakespeare's works, complete with explanation of who said it and what it means. Whether you're the best man looking for a toast, or an invitee looking for something to sign in the guest book, Shakespeare offers something for everybody.
- Shakespeare Geek Merchandise Be proud of your inner geek! Half the fun in wearing my "Mercutio Drew First!" t-shirt is in those rare times when somebody actually *gets* the joke, and I know I've met a kindred spirit. (If you want to support the site, buying something's always greatly appreciated. This is the only blatant plug that you'll find in this post. Thanks!)
- Shakespeare Answers Sites like WikiAnswers and Yahoo Answers may have us at a slight size disadvantage, but we've got something that no amount of general-content sites can ever hope to have -- love for our subject. If somebody's got a question about Shakespeare for me, I deeply and seriously want them to understand my answer. I'm not interested in just giving them enough to get a good grade on their homework. If you've got a question I expect you to walk away with enough knowledge about your question that you could be the one to answer it next time somebody asks *you*. Too often are the wide open sites filled with garbage, joke answers and spam. Shakespeare Answers will be full of nothing but the absolute best answers to any Shakespeare question that someone out there might have, because I know that my audience is already full of exactly the kind of Shakespeare lovers like myself who can provide those answers. Join up now and take part in the fun!
- Over 2100 Twitter followers! Are you in on the fun? Sometimes the most hilarious stuff goes by so fast it never even makes the blog!
- Over 650 Facebook fans! If this is where you prefer to get your news, I've got you covered. (Although I'll never understand the folks that comment on blog posts via Facebook comments instead of coming back to the blog! You miss most of the conversation that way!)
Who know what's next? I'd like to do more in the ebook arena. I'd like to do more with mobile app development. Life is busy. There's day job, there's family commitments. I can't always commit the kind of time and resources to the site that I'd like, but I do try, I'll always promise that.
Thanks, everybody, for six great years, and for helping to make Shakespeare Geek quite simply the best place around to talk about you know who!