GeoCities: Baseball and Basketball Card Central
The author of this website, Bret Weiss, has been challenging to locate due to the unique spelling of his name, making typos a potential obstacle. It is evident that he designed this website for individuals passionate about sports cards or gaming. When considering its connection to the five areas of the circuit of culture, certain correlations stand out more prominently than others. Notably, production and consumption are tightly interwoven. The production of these cards has led to a specific practice, fostering continued consumption of the product. Representation and identity represent two other areas with a strong intersection on this Geocity site. The website’s structure and product representation prompt contemplation regarding the identity of its creator and potential visitors. These connections aid in understanding how specific cultural components emerge from the interplay of the circuit’s five areas.
Focusing on production, trading cards align with this area’s purpose in shaping cultural practices and product creation. Consumption also intertwines here, as player trading cards gave rise to a community of individuals deeply invested in participating. This commonality allowed people to form bonds and relationships through card consumption, resulting in a widespread community. The consumption of cards continues, particularly with limited edition or vintage cards circulated within these communities. The site includes a hyperlink to another page listing the cards Bret Weiss wishes to showcase, demonstrating another aspect of the consumption chain. This site contributes to production by facilitating a larger culture as an available website, bridging geographical gaps and enabling trading card enthusiasts to connect and continue their card exchanges.
The area of representation takes on an essential role when analyzing the site’s intended appearance. The author’s approach to representation is particularly intriguing and its relationship to the site’s likely visitors. The website maintains a straightforward design with a blue background, uniform black text, and a larger font for “Baseball and Basketball Card Central” at the top. Below, a brief introduction is followed by sections with small titles listing specific items for sale. Each item description follows a simple format, including the year, team, player, and any special edition details (e.g., “88/89 Fleer All-Star Team Magic Johnson”). At the time, the typical user interested in trading athlete cards or purchasing gaming consoles would likely have been a man aged between 20 and 35. Given this demographic, an intricate website with excessive details might overwhelm users, considering the substantial inventory available. The site’s style and purpose capture the identity of the user and, potentially, the author, given the niche interest in sports trading cards.
The fifth area in the circuit, regulation, is less evident here, considering the site’s structure and how it facilitates trading. Visitors lack the ability to post or comment, which would typically necessitate regulatory measures. Instead, trading is managed through visitors reaching out to Bret Weiss via the provided email if they wish to trade or purchase any of the listed items.
In conclusion, the various areas comprising the circuit of culture aid in comprehending the greater purpose of this website and its role in fostering cultural development. While Bret Weiss may have initially intended to declutter his house, he has inadvertently created a platform that enhances the niche culture of professional athletes’ trading cards.
Assignment #4: Identity and Consumption: Archaeology of a GeoCities Site, 1994–2000
By: Campbell Case