Sunday, October 20, 2013

Analysis of the Digital Landscape

With a focus of Rhode Island College Athletic Department as my subculture, I decided to look at the other subcultures of different colleges and universities in New England. The colleges I looked at were New England College, University of Massachusetts, Connecticut College, and the University of Maine. From a quick glance all of the websites featured pictures of their athletes participating in the sports that they play. For the most part they are set up the same way with the navigation bar at the top of the page to display the different places you can visit throughout the website. The first thing I looked for was the Staff Directory because that is the subculture I am looking at. Like Rhode Island College’s website, there is a complete list of the staff that are in the athletic department. The one thing that all of the websites did was to allow you to click on the names of the people in the department so you can learn a little about them and their jobs, however Rhode Island College’s website does not allow you to do this. The only thing you learn from RIC’s website are the jobs of each person, their phone number and email.

In the different websites they use a lot of different words to say that their team won a game. Their insider language includes, “tops in”, “cruises/sails past”, “picks up victory”, “powers past”, and “edge out”. One phase that is insider language that people might not know is “...picks up huge conference win”. In college there are games that are conference and non-conference. Non-conference games are the games that don’t count for or against your record when it comes time for the play offs. Conference games are the most important because they will count for or against your record. To say that they “picked up a huge conference win” means that that win was crucial to their record and they most likely defeated a team that seemed to be a huge threat to them. A lot of teams I researched comply with the NCAA, which means they follow the same rules that Rhode Island College does. It is easy to say that these four websites share a common goal because each team aspires to win and triumph over every team in their conference.

The websites all display their athletes who greatly contributed to their wins and they all have their logo along with their team mascot.  In my opinion these things represent school pride. A lot of colleges and universities take pride in their athletic teams, and the athletes put in a great effort to bring honor to their school.

The websites are the colors of their school and there are bolded words as soon as you open the page. These words are either small blurbs of a victory for their team or a loss. These things stand out because they are right in the middle of the page and display information that catches your eye right from the start. The other words that are bolded are the places where you click and travel somewhere else on the webpage. The intended audiences of this page are the athletes that are pictured in the articles and even parents looking to see how their athletes did in the last game. Other people who view these websites are competing teams looking to see how they will match up in future games.

At a fist glance these teams look intimidating. The pictures of their athletes are fierce and ready to play for a win. The looks of the sites are simple yet they have things they want to draw your attention to and it works. The subculture of these sites however are not the people in the athletic department, it is the student athletes. They are the faces of the athletic department and they are still a subculture to be studied. The subculture is presented right away with pictures of athletes with captions such as leading the team to a win or playing hard and walking away with a loss. In the digital world the athletes get all the fame while the people in the athletic department get pushed to the side. Of course this does make sense because the athletes are the ones participating in these events not the directors. However, the directors are hidden in theses websites usually under the title Staff Directory. Here their names are listed, and some even include facts about themselves.

One thing that really stands out to me is that all of the websites I looked at were connected to social media. In a day and age where connection to the top sites are everything, connecting to social media allows easier access to the site and therefore a larger amount of people accessing the website. It is truly amazing how each of these different websites came from different states and yet for the most part, they look and work in the same ways. Each website clearly displays their teams and hidden deep inside is the subculture I am seeking, the athletic departments who allow these athletes to be given the fame they deserve.    

1 comment:

  1. Ashley,
    I really liked how you looked at so many different school's athletic websites. That will really give you a lot to compare to. Their layout seems to be very different than most of the websites we are finding. They take a lot of time and effort designing their websites because, like you said, it represents school pride. You did a really good job analyzing the word choice, colors, pictures, etc. It's interesting that a lot of us connected our findings to some point about how social media is being so popular and necessary now! It easily allows us to find our school's page and support them, even if we aren't an athlete.