Five Questions With Xavier Murphy
1. Why did you start Jamaicans.com?
The site went live in 1995 when the World Wide Web started to take off. In 1994 I had been working for a company that did electronic marketing and had "placements" on CompuServe, Prodigy, and AOL. These were the original "electronic" communities where everything was in one place. Back then the Internet was basically divided into 3 parts: E-mail, the graphical portion (now known as the World Wide Web) and Newsgroups. I remember searching many of the search directories (including Yahoo which started in 1995) for Jamaican web sites on the "World Wide Web" on the using the CompuServe Mosaic Browser. I found 3 sites: an Arlene Laing site with an overview of Jamaica, JaAlumni Yard Page, and the unofficial web site for my high school, Jamaica College. I was always very passionate about my homeland, and I was proud to find these sites online. I used to have my own magazine/newsletter years ago and I had some content, so I figured, why not start a website with some of the stuff I already had?
2. How has the Internet changed since you began publishing?
Wow...where do I start? It has grown tremendously. I used to use Notepad to edit the pages on my website. Now I have Dreamweaver and so many other great tools. Open Source software applications has also leveled the playing field. It was very cost prohibitive to create complex applications, with Open Source you can find any application you need for your website.
3. What was your greatest challenge in maintaining Jamaicans.com?
The biggest challenge is the traffic to the website. Through the years we have upgraded a few times because the site continues to grow.
4. What was your greatest disappointment?
My greatest disappointment is a bit broader than just online. I think we do not cherish our culture and the people/institutes that try to preserve it. It comes in the form of lack of sponsorship by Jamaican businesses or lack of support by the community. Even online we tend to tear down than build up.
5. What are the benefits of Internet publishing?
The ability to get information out quickly and getting instant feedback.
What makes you laugh?
The creativity of Jamaicans and just our style of humor. The Jamaicans.com online forums is the outlet for a lot of funny stuff. Whenever I need a good laugh, I take a look at some of the discussions there. We have the ability to make the serious very funny or put a hilarious spin on things.