Production: Nicole’s Titanic Page
As I perused through archived neighborhoods of GeoCities, I entered the Theater neighborhood within Hollywood. While scrolling through the many web pages I was met by many excessively vibrant patterns and colors that my modern eye was not accustomed to seeing when scrolling the contemporary web. However, one site immediately stood out to me for the familiarity of its home page, and thus I clicked on “Nicole’s Titanic Page”.
While I have included the link here for anyone to access this site, I think a description of my experience as a user is valuable in analyzing the production of the website, especially in comparison to others in the neighborhood. As I stated, I was drawn to this page because of its home page, which displays two images of Jack and Rose, or rather their actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet from the movie “Titanic”. In clicking either of the images, I was afforded the option to view the page with frames or no frames. In other words, as a consumer, I was able to select my own viewing experience. While I have no personal knowledge of the design difficulty this implies, I was not offered this option on any previous pages I had viewed. Because of this and given the fact that this entails 2 somewhat separate structural designs, I would assume that it took increased time and skill investment by Nicole in its creation.
I searched many different neighborhoods of GeoCities and explored many web pages before selecting one for this assignment. This was at least my tenth specific page I’d explored, and I was caught off guard when I selected the pages’ frames version and was immediately greeted by the movie’s classic song, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion (especially as I was working in a silent room with my computer at maximum volume). Regardless of my initial surprise, I thought this was a fun and effective way to immerse the consumer in the environment of the movie. Again, I have no personal experience in producing a web page of this sort with the tools the 1990s provided, but given the discussions we have had in class, inserting musical clips into the web page’s design is a rather complex task.
More generally, when viewing the page with frames the consumer can visit 11 of Nicole’s different categorized pages.
Many of these sections include many different links and pictures associated with the movie, again, a more challenging feat in the time it was produced than we might recognize in our modern day. Two pages that stood out to me, in particular, were the “Titanic Links” and “Titanic Cast List” pages. Both pages were formatted with artwork of the titanic as their backdrop, but the sheer volume of information on each is striking.
Though many of the hyperlinks on the links page specifically are now defunct and broken, the variety of information related to the movie they would’ve provided is vast. Additionally, the cast list page is similarly extensive. Like the links page, many of the images correlating with the cast members are no longer accessible on my browser, but, yet again, imply a significant amount of time in its design. This is actually acknowledged by Nicole in the heading of the links page which reads,
“This page is new and will take me a while. If you are interested in submitting your page to be put on this list of links then you can either email me or visit the link below this paragraph to exchange a link or banner with me.”
Similarly, the “Sounds and Clips” page included various, now defunct, links to specific moments throughout the film. Nicole acknowledges that none of these sounds or clips are her own but rather a result of her research efforts using other pages. Her aim is to create a singular destination for her viewers, instead of them doing this search on their own. This again implies significant time investment on Nicole’s part, but also more advanced knowledge of technology to collect so many plugins and download links to implement into her page.
One related aspect of this information collection is the ability to communicate with Nicole. For example, the page’s link exchange feature allows webpage visitors to copy and paste the html provided by Nicole and exchange their banners with her. She provides an “Email Me” hyperlink on her page. This link is not only still active but links to a Hotmail email address, which, as we’ve discussed in class was a relatively modern method in the 90s. She also provides her ICQ number, an instant messaging platform that, though now disabled, allowed her viewers multiple communication platforms at the time.
In addition to email capability, Nicole’s page also featured a chat feature and a guestbook. I continue to find the concept of guestbooks intriguing, as it allows for connections. The inclusion of a guestbook is in line with Nicole’s overall promotion of user interaction. Additionally, though I do not have the software to run the chat feature currently, like many other aspects of Nicole’s page, I had not seen an embedded chat feature for users on any other page. This “in house” ability to communicate simplifies the overall visitor experience.
Initially, I assumed that “Nicole’s Titanic Page” would include specific or even personal information about Nicole, given that her name is in the web page’s title. However, unlike other sites whose creators include personal pictures or facts, there is not much information tied to Nicole other than her email and instant messaging profile. With that being said, the production of the web page and its details reveals information about Nicole.
As I’ve emphasized, much can be inferred about Nicole based on the complexity of the webdesign and the immense amount of information, especially through links and photographs, provided. We can thus infer that Nicole dedicated a significant amount of time to the creation of her page and had advanced knowledge of web page design and search capabilities. With her page, Nicole produced a destination for pop culture that was also influenced by the societal obsession with “Titanic” within pop culture itself. In the production of her page, Nicole suggests her own identity as a superfan, creating a page for others like herself. Her page is one of information and exploration for those interested, a deeper dive into the world of “Titanic”. She promotes further learning, even beyond her page with her “Web Rings” feature. Given the informative nature of Nicole’s page, there is no inherent negative impact relating to the identities and representations expressed. Unlike other pages whose production enables some users to benefit, or bond over the identities created, Nicole’s page simply acts as a fun, educational destination.
“Nicole’s Titanic Page.” 1998. Nicole’s Titanic Page. GeoCities Restorativland, April 27, 1998. https://geocities.restorativland.org/Hollywood/Theater/1199/.