A shrine, in the traditional sense of the word, is a structure or place that is of religious importance. So in some way, this digital shrine must be the same? Digital shrines are websites that are indeed dedicated to a specific topic but not in the religious sense of the word, additionally, shrines are a type of fan site that focuses on any particular topic: fictional characters, actors, singers, animals, songs, or anything else you can think of. Shrines are a form of self-expression for people who enjoy a particular topic and creating websites. There are no rules to making shrines and there are no expectations.

A Brief History

Shrines appeared on the World Wide Web around 1998, when the web was young, and were well known in the fan site communities by 2001. Back in the early days of the internet, many websites were experimental and social networking did not exist, letting shrines be a way for people to find others through their websites and connect over their similar interests. Shrines used to be the main websites to find information about these topics before Wikis were the go-to source for information.

Around 2000, Fanlistings were gaining popularity and growing alongside shrines in the fan communities. Fanlistings share some similarities with shrines but are not to be confused with them for they are fundamentally different. Fanlistings focus on listing fans from all around the world and there can only exist one at a time, and generally do not contain the same content as shrines. These days, shrine-makers focus on presenting their favorite topics with their own theories, analysis, and essays as a form of networking with others in the fan community.

What is a Shrine to You?

If you are still wondering what a shrine is, we asked Amassment members to tell others what a shrine is to them. Here is what some current shrine-developers had to say on the topic:

“A shrine is something more than just a collection of facts and pictures about a subject; it has lots of personal touches. Opinions, fanworks, theories (no matter how off-the-wall), tangential research that ties into the subject somehow–whatever is uniquely your perspective or creation is perfect for a shrine.”

“Its a way to show my love for the subject and write mostly my opinions on the subject aside giving the basic information. I find it as a personal site to show my love and maybe interest someone into the subject.”
“For me, it’s any site that expresses and elaborates the owner’s love for a subject! It doesn’t matter in which way, or what the subject in question is. If the love is there, I think it qualifies as a shrine.”
“I feel like shrines constantly evolve based on what is going on with the internet when they are made. Back in the day, they used to be information sources, as Wikis weren’t available, and information for subjects was harder to find. Today, they are more personal dedications, providing opinions and insights that you can’t find on Wikis.”

What else did Amassment members have to say? Check out our Forum for more.

Read more:

» Shrining for Newbies

» Making Your First Shrine