The First Year
Total Visits to the Website
Most Visits in One Month
551 Visits by 370 People
Averaging 1.5 Visits per Person
Recent Visitors from Abroad
"If you take a look at the Red Circle's website, you'll find a nice layout with everything the Beltway native (or visitor) would need."
--Scott Monty, Baker Street Blog
"Nice! Looks really good, Pops."
--Kevin Rettig, Son of Webmaster
"Many editors are failed writers. But then so are most writers."
--T. S. Eliot, via Matthew Rettig,
Other Son of Webmaster
By Alan Rettig
The Red Circle has been around for more than 60 years, but this website is still a baby. We're just a year old this month. In his Logbook entry of July 19, Peter Blau told of how he was motivated to establish an online home. I thought I'd use this birthday milestone to add a few words about what our first year has looked like from the webmaster's perch.
When Peter mentioned that he was looking for somebody to help put a Red Circle website on its feet, I didn't raise my hand right away. I thought being a webmaster would be a lot of fun, but there was one problem: I knew just enough about how all this stuff works to realize that I wanted no part of hypertext coding, tag-writing, and all the other terrors that lurk in the bizarre online world where "what-you-see-is-absolutely-not-what-you-get." I've written plenty for the internet, I know a little about graphics and I'm proficient at manipulating photos. But I also know grown men and women who have been reduced to puddles of warm Jell-O by venturing into the Grimpen Mire known as "webmaster."
So I called my old friend and colleague Bob Howard in San Antonio. Bob's inaugurated a number of websites and lived to tell about it. Not only did he reassure me, but he volunteered to handle all those "back-office" headaches that I dreaded. He told me about something called a "content management system" that lets ordinary mortals create and post items on the website using little more than simple English and cut-and-paste tools. He told me it would be fun; I was relieved. I took the plunge and called Peter, who seemed pleased. We had lunch, chose a basic design and outlined the various content sections that we'd feature. Bob got the site running, I worked up the main graphic treatment and started writing. I thought surely I'd need to fly down to San Antonio to have Bob teach me how to manipulate this "content management system" beast, but I managed to get up to speed on it with just a few phone calls.
On November 15, 2010 I e-mailed Peter that "this morning our website went 'on the air' and is located at its official home." He wrote back quickly to say that everything looked wonderful.
A year later I'm very happy I got involved. The site has grown steadily by every measure. . .the range of content we provide, the number of people who visit, and the other Sherlockian and Holmesian websites that share with us. We've helped good causes with online petition drives--the Save Undershaw movement and the effort to confer a BAFTA Award on Jeremy Brett. Peter's "Logbook" feature continues to amuse and fascinate, and our meeting notes remind us of the wonderful speakers and programs that grace our Red Circle dinners. Most gratifying of all is when a new face at one of those dinners tells us that they found The Red Circle by Googling our website.
Bob is always ready to pitch in when a gremlin needs chasing, and the fact that the website actually lives on a "server farm" somewhere in Georgia doesn't matter at all. In our wireless world, it's as close as a click on our "Favorites" list.
Some of the vital statistics and notes about our first year are detailed at the right. I hope you've enjoyed visiting The Red Circle online, and that you'll come back often. So it's Happy First Birthday to www.redcircledc.org, as we look forward to many more to come!