A long time ago the UK Tolkien Society used to have a page on their website every 3rd of January where people could leave a message, proposing a toast to the Professor and telling everyone where they were and what they were drinking. It was a heart-warming, almost Hobbit-like affair. They kept it up for some years, but later decided it was no longer necessary in the age of social media. They removed the page from their website along with all the archived posts from previous years, and simply told everyone to share their toast on Twitter and Facebook.
Some of us regretted the change, and that was what eventually led to the creation of this website. We wanted to revive and continue the excellent tradition of getting together and sharing a toast on J.R.R.T.’s birthday, but without relying on social media to provide the platform. Don’t get us wrong, we are not trying to stop anyone from celebrating January 3rd on social media or anywhere they like. But we believe that the Birthday Toast needs a separate, dedicated home as well, for several reasons:
- The most obvious reason is that a social media post just doesn’t feel special enough. There is no sense of occasion. We want the Birthday Toast to feel special – something you only do once a year, something to look forward to.
- Social media lacks focus. Any post on Facebook or Twitter only gets the spotlight for a moment and is almost immediately buried under a mountain of other, usually unrelated, posts. We don’t want that to happen to the Birthday Toast.
- Social media is fragmented. There are many different social networks, so the Birthday posts may end up scattered all over the internet. That is not a bad thing in itself, but this approach lacks something. If all we have is scattered posts, it doesn’t feel like a real get-together.
- Because of the fragmented and ephemeral nature of social media, it is impossible to maintain well-ordered archives from previous years. We want people to be able to find all posts from previous years quickly and easily.
- Social media often tends to emphasize pictures and videos over text. We like pictures and videos too, but we think they are no replacement for the actual toast. Your toast is what you say, not a snapshot of your glass of beer. Your thoughts and words should take priority over any visuals and should be displayed in the most prominent place on the page.
- Social media companies often have restrictive policies. For example, Facebook imposes many restrictions on ads featuring “alcohol” and tobacco. Who can tell what new restrictions they may introduce tomorrow? What if they require you to prove you are over 21 before you can post or view any content which “promotes drinking”? What if they refuse to display such content at all in your country? What if they decide that toast drinking is racist or offensive to somebody? We think the Birthday Toast should be protected from any such meddling.
- Finally, strange as it may sound in 2022, not everyone is on social media. People without a social media presence should still be able to share their Birthday toast with the world and become part of the Birthday Toast community.
Birthdaytoast.org is a place where people from anywhere in the world can share their toast easily and with complete privacy. No registration required, no personal data collected except what you choose to share. Archives from previous years will never be deleted.
Birthdaytoast.org is not affiliated with anybody.
If you like the idea of a dedicated and independent Birthday Toast website, please spread the word.