I started The Society 4 1/2 years ago for the sole purpose of keeping a core group of people together, whom were all friends on another site that was closing it’s doors. That core group was about 300 people I’m guessing. The other site was closing in March (the 14th) and I opened The Society’s doors on February 15th, 2009. We’ve evolved, slowly, consistently, and we’ve had growing pains and mistakes have been made, but onward we went. I like to be very open with the members on the site and most major decisions have been made by the cooperative effort of the membership and myself.
Ooohh you have to be a member….must be something up with this site if they won’t let folks look. Well Facebook is the same, do people complain about that? No. That was a decision based on the will of the membership; to protect their privacy and information. This is a good thing for the membership. It does limit the site’s exposure as it is impossible for search engines to crawl the site which would make it more accessible to wrong doers. There is short series of sign up questions, and a security question. The question is itself a trick question that should be fairly easy to any beardsman or whiskerina and anyone who takes notice of things. 😉
The site is similar to Facebook in that it has profile pages (completely customizable on The Society), status updates, etc. We have a killer Gallery, Forum, and Blogs. There are over 30 groups ranging from the Rainbow Room to Terminus Barba, to Rockets & Cycles. There is something for everyone for the most part. It has a casual atmosphere and the members are very friendly, but as is said about bearded men, that’s a given. Some people can get overwhelmed by the amount of information on the site and in all the different directions one can go. I set the site up, and maintain it completely.
I manage the site, the graphics, the ads, the membership, etc. Over the years as we grew and decided there was a need for change, we’d change the header or banner. The originals were of my creation, but the big change came with the help of Kizzume who was a great help and lent his artistc talent to the site. We kept that header for a year or two. Then another artist (Jon Hemingway) on the site from Canada, offered his talents and we again changed banners and mastheads and the site was remodeled slightly and update aesthetically. We kept that header/banner for nearly two years.
In November of 2012 I was chatting with a good friend about ‘logos’ and that after nearly 4 years (*at that time) I still didn’t have a logo I could hang the site’s hat on and if he’d be interested in lending his talents to me. He owns his own design house in San Fancisco and his work is superb. He sent me a cool sketch within a few days which we discussed, but then we stopped the project. It wasn’t stopped with any purpose, but rather business and day to day activities pushed it to the back. This project was picked up again in late Spring of 2013. To my complete and total excitement, I was presented with a beautiful logo and script. Amazed I tell you! I knew it would be good, my friend is very talented, but keeping the original sketch in mind, the updated sketch, and then the final graphic logo..well i am still blown away. 🙂 My original intention was simply to add this new logo to the previous banner and be done with it, but after seeing the logo, I knew the site had to be remodeled, and it has been..twice now! I liked the first remodel, but it just didn’t sit will with me and I couldn’t put my finger on it. A week later I started working again to come up with a ‘look’ that I wanted the site to have. With some suggestions and batting ideas around with my friend, I created the look and feel I wanted and now feel satisifed with it.
As for the site, well we’ve had 50 new members join in the past two weeks. We still average over 3000 visitors a month, and have had app. 4.8 million pageviews since August of 2009. Again, I am pleased with our slow, steady growth and am looking forward to our 5th year of Serving the Bearded Community.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and have a pleasant week ahead!
Gary W Norman