Five Questions With Xavier Murphy

Xavier MurphyXavier Murphy is the owner and webmaster of what is undoubtedly one of Jamaica's oldest and most popular online destinations - Jamaicans.Com. With a good mix of hard work, democracy, and entrepreneurship, Xavier has managed to keep Jamaicans.com on the forefront of Jamaica and the Caribbean's Internet landscape for almost a decade.


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.


(Optional)

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.

***





Comments

Stephen Bess said…
Cool. I'll have to check that out. Have a great weekend Geoffrey and throw something on that grill. Peace~ :)
Rethabile said…
Interesting site. I read an article about sb moving "from a first-world to a third-world" country. It reminded me of my age old question: Why 3rd or 1st world? And is there a 2nd world?
If I remember, 1st, 2nd & 3rd World were socio-economic terms based on per capita, and it went as high as 5th World.
I don't think it's used anymore, but I may be wrong.
Besides that, have a great weekend!
Sharon McMillan said…
I found this post after a Google search to find out how widely know Xavier and his jamaicans.com site is. While this is a great post - it is now 2009 and I had hoped to find more people/Jamaicans profiling this man and his site. I've been a member since I think 2001 and for a while there jamaicans.com was part of my daily routine!

I agree with Xavier that our businesses and communities as a whole need to "cherish" our culture more. This is not really a criticism but a positive call to action to the Jamaica diaspora and most especially our business community.
Sharon, yes, I agree with you. Xavier has been doing some great work and this should be honored.

Peace,
Geoffrey

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