Where do you spend most of your time at Bowdoin? Most likely it's not locations like the dining halls or your dorm room, but instead the cyber spaces of Bowdoin. With over 100,000 pages branching from the all too familiar home screen, there are plenty of places for your mouse to explore.
According to data that tracked Web traffic from August 1 to December 30, 2009, provided by Associate Director of Communications for Web Strategy Robert Denton, the Athletics page was the most popular destination by far.
Athletics pages alone received 1.3 million page views from about 255,700 unique visitors, while all other Bowdoin pages combined racked up 5,461,393 page views from about 650,000 unique visitors.
Of the visits to the Athletics pages, only an approximate 20 percent came from on campus while the other 80 percent were made from computers and mobile devices outside the Bowdoin network.
Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis attributes the popularity of Athletics pages among an off-campus audience primarily to strong alumni interest.
"It's how they [alumni] stay connected to the College," said Davis. "Especially if they played a sport, they like to see how that sport is doing."
About 53 percent of the overall traffic on Bowdoin's pages came from off campus. After Athletics, the most popular destinations were Admissions, About, News, Academics and Faculty pages followed by those of Residential Life, Academic Affairs, Campus Life and Webcams.
The most popular destinations for on-campus users were the Directory, Dining, Mail, Academics, the Registrar and the Career Planning Center pages.
Data indicating exactly how many visits these sites received over the course of the five-month period was unavailable for this article.
Locations such as the Student Gateway, which is automatically loaded on many campus computers, were excluded from these results. The home page, for instance, was viewed almost a million times over this period from on-campus computers, perhaps indicating its automatic appearance on Bowdoin browsers.
On its busiest days, the collection of Bowdoin Web pages sees around 22,000 visits. These high-traffic days typically fall during months the College is in session.
Unsurprisingly, most people do not rush to check Bearings or look up a major requirement after opening presents: Bowdoin sites received only 4,500 visits on Christmas day.
Denton compiled the data using Google Analytics. According to him, the program is "an analytic engine that tracks the number of visits...by tracking when people arrive on a page."
Google Analytics also enabled Denton to observe the amount of time viewers spend on each page, though this data is often subject to what he calls "serendipity." In other words, the chances that a lengthy stint spent on "a search for 'Super Snack'" is the product of a window left open rather than a thorough reading of the search results.
Denton noted that the data shows a rise in the use of mobile devices to browse Bowdoin sites.
"Our mobile traffic has increased by about 25 percent," Denton wrote in an e-mail to the Orient. "It's still a tiny percentage at 1.25 percent of overall traffic, but it is growing. We are making plans to provide a much better mobile experience soon."