Production- Area 51 Headquarters

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screenshot of home page of Area 51 Headquarters

The circuit of culture is how to appropriately and completely study a topic and its influence on our way of life. This way of exploring includes consumers who use the product, how it is used, its purpose, the identity of said consumers, the rules enforced over the product, how it is made, and how this all influences the product. The aspect of production looks the creation of things, the act of inventing it, sharing it, and selling it. The largest or most focused on are who is paying for this process. We must consider the paid labor and or unpaid work done by the owner. Who benefits from the production of the site?

The company GeoCities allows for all creators to pay to access an easier way of creating a website of whatever focus topic. This was the newest way for small creators to reach larger masses of people with the freedom to discuss their own interests. GeoCities then profits by placing ads on all the website pages made by the creators. Each creator needs to leave space for ads on the right side of the pages and has no control of what company’s ads are being shown. This is GeoCities’ incentive for offering a website making service; they make money directly from the creators and from viewers of the creator’s pages. The viewers of the pages access all the websites for free because their access to the website is making GeoCities money by simply viewing the screen.

The creator of Area 51 Headquarters offers his name on the website but does not take credit for all the writing or designing graphics. The purpose for his website is to share information and connect to users who are also interested in Area 51, creating an identity for the consumer. There are not excessive regulations due to the posts only run through one person and their opinions. The site states that readers can share the link and credit the page for graphics without permission. It even suggests an exchange: the web creator will post the link of another geo-site when they post his site on their website. He also offers his email for questions and comments, generating the incentive of exposure for writers and the creator gets more content for the site. This creates a collaborative production process.

There are multiple producers for the site due to different people making a variety of aspects for the website. The motivation of the web owner is not clear, but one can assume it is not financially motivated because he offers credit to others and reminds readers that he did not write all the stories himself. The site is mostly informational, so he clearly has a passion for Area 51. His motivation is simply sharing the knowledge he believes and what he loves. The web owner does state that he will not pay those willing to share their stories so one can assume the motivation of the writers is exposure and curiosity. The writers are not assigned specifically to the website but share if they have something already written or something they wanted to write on their own accord. There are some graphics used on the website that are specifically requested by the web owner for his pages and specific web name. He has separate exchanges for the designs by payment or simply giving credit. The collective production combines the different levels, all overseen by the web owner, which makes his job more of an editor like a web magazine.

screenshot of task bar of Area 51 Headquarters

The site is separated into three sections: Area 51, Government Secrets, and Places of Interest. This conveys how users of this site are interested in the evidence behind the conspiracy of Area 51 and do not believe the government is telling the truth. Users can range from those who are obsessed with the topic and have their own Area 51 experiences to those who are simply curious or have heard about the idea in the media. There are sections in which the web master talks about his own experiences at the base demonstrating he is closer to the obsession side of the scale. The qualitative data is very thorough, but the arguments are biased and one-sided. I think the web creator benefits from this website because he simply enjoys talking about it and this way he can share his interests and have a platform to talk to others who have questions.

There is a page within the website is called “Dreamland” and it is for readers to send in rumors about Area 51. The submissions can be posted anonymously or with a name and users can respond to all postings. The web master still has approval of which ones are posted but he writes none of the submissions. He can answer the questions right in the submission, but it is specially noted so the readers can tell what was originally written. The submissions are motivated by curiosity or interest from their personal experiences considering that they are not getting paid. It brings exposure and connection to other people who have the same passion. They also have a motivation to help others because the questions posted may be wondered by others, so readers get the same answer.

The Area 51 website shows the most innocent and possibly most valuable side of the internet. It is a community created to share opinions about Area 51 and government conspiracies with those who want connection to other people. No one on the website is getting paid so there is no motivation of greed or concern for who is making the money. I like how the website is edited by the owner rather than written, for it allows for other experiences to be shared so users feel more involved and connected. Although GeoCities looks like the greedy corporate in this scenario, all the positive aspects of the websites would not be possible without them. They make money off ads but there needs to be some type of income to continue to provide these resources so more creators can share their interests and projects.

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