More Jamaicans are surfing the internet daily and with that the demand for exclusive Jamaican content has been increasing steadily. Local web producers or web masters will tell you that serving up a slice of Jamaican life on the internet takes a lot of imagination, innovation and creative effort. The task is for web designers, multi media artists and content development players to flex their creative muscle and come up with a winning formula toward launching the next best project.
Jamaicanjokes.com is a new website which is flavoured with the spice of storytelling, candid images and comedic expressions to titillate your taste buds while filling you with a belly full of laughter. The brainchild of Sandor & Aiesha Panton of Top5Jamaica.com and Top5Trinidad.com fame, the website aim to stir up the funnier side of Jamaica and its people while reaching its target audience.
Here are a few questions I chose to ask the owners of Jamaicanjokes.com about their new web project.
Firstly could you give me an overview of your site and the dynamics which go into producing this website, also include when was the website started?
Quite simply it is a joke/humor website that is specific to Jamaica and Jamaicans, and its humorous content includes written, visual and audio jokes/depictions. Unbeknownst to us, the wheels were in motion from as far back as 1998, as funny Jamaican jokes and information that was received via email forwards from family, friends and other associates were being saved from then onward for ‘future reference’. These email jokes have formed the main basis of JamaicanJokes.Com. The conceptualization and work to create the website started however in early 2004, but due to busy schedules and other priorities, it was completed only recently and was officially launched in February 2005.
Why did you decide to create a Jamaican jokes website?
There is a lot Jamaica-related information on the Web, from cultural to economic to religious to just about any topic you can imagine; however, this information tends to be very scattered and sometimes very difficult to find, and really there is a dearth of organized sources of indigenous Jamaican content that is not specific to music or entertainment. This website is an attempt to bridge one of these gaps, while helping to showcase the humorous side of Jamaica and Jamaicans.
Jamaicans are known to be more an aggressive bunch of peoples rather than fun loving, would you say that the content on the website effectively shows a lighter side to our multilayered personalities?
It definitely does. Somehow, outside Jamaica, it’s always easy to pick the ‘Jamaican’ out of a crowd of people; it’s something in our ‘look’, our walk, our confidence, our attitude and so many other things, but we are definitely unique and the website helps to showcase the many facets (known and unknown) of us Jamaicans. Yes, there are a few jokes that contain classic stereotypes but if we can’t make fun of ourselves then we wouldn’t truly be ‘Jamaican’.
How do you go about deciding what jokes are appropriate for your website, and is the average Jamaican able to submit his own jokes to your site?
Joke selection is important because we want to ensure that the jokes provide humor, even if somewhat stereotypical, but not to the point where it degrades our people and our country itself. Thus, there are actually a few ‘jokes’ that did not make the cut and were not published online. Yes, anyone can submit a joke to us, and every page on the site has a link to an online form where they can do this easily. They also have the option to email us attachments with funny pictures, audio clips or videos. Where requested, Submitters will receive specific credit (name, email address etc. on the webpage with the joke) for their joke submission. Right now we’re especially interested in any old Jamaican stories and folklore that people might be willing to share, so please do submit one or some that you may have to share.
Jamaicanjokes.com is a novelty website, how difficult is it to market such a website and what demographics would you say your content has been appealing to?
We haven’t yet invested a lot of time or effort in marketing it, however because it is a novelty site, we don’t believe it will be difficult at all and have an extensive plan to do so in the near future. The plan includes:
(1) Helping to spread the word among Jamaicans about JamaicanJokes.Com via a few creative and ‘viral’ means – word-of-mouth is after all the cheapest and best form of advertising.
(2) Networking with other Jamaican websites to provide them with a jokes news feed and other content which can be smoothly implemented and added to their existing content.
(3) A small amount of advertising in both online and offline media and websites that have a largely Jamaican audience. Eventually we also plan to sponsor certain humor-related events and activities in Jamaica and maybe even globally.
With Categories, Rememba Dis?, Man & Woman Ting!, Politics Time Again, Only In Jamaica, Everyday Livity, Cyan Tes Wi and Pics, what would you say is the most popular link on the website and why do you think that is so ?
‘Man & Woman Ting!’ is the most frequently visited category, possibly because the jokes and situations that emanate from a male/female relationship are often times the most hilarious ones, and people know that instinctively thus possibly they’re more inclined to click that link over any other. Plus, they probably figure there is some ‘good drama’ going on in some of them.
You have a newsletter for the site, how many subscribers do you have and what is usually included in each mail out?
In the short time that the site has been up, we’ve barely marketed it, with just a small banner ad on Top5Jamaica.Com; but word is getting around and currently there are just fewer than 100 subscribers on our newsletter mailing list, with a few more signing up each day. So far, we’ve done only one mailing, which was in Mid-March to basically let Subscribers know that the site had been updated with new jokes.
Outside of jokes do you see yourself adding other features which would appeal to the demand for more unique Jamaican infotainment?
Soon, we will be adding content that is more specific to old Jamaican folklore including Anansi and other ‘old time stories’. That aside, we will eventually look to offer other features and items such as free screensavers, event listings (for e.g. Roots Plays in Jamaica and on tour overseas) and lots more, just keep visiting to see!
I could easily see your content is being copied and repackaged for other online distribution outlays and even the lighter side of Jamaican radio and television programs. Have you been receiving credits for your creative work and do you think that local online communication media community on the internet need to find ways to limit piracy of original content?
There are some items on the website which are our own creation, but a significant portion of our content was derived from unknown sources (especially via a chain of email forwards). Thus, while we can’t and don’t take credit for being the originator of all our content, we did work extremely hard to organize and package all this data, and would like to be acknowledged in some form if it is taken directly from our site and re-used for commercial purposes. With regard to legislation and protection, while the Internet is oft viewed as ‘lawless’, along the lines of the ‘Wild Wild West’, significant legislation exists for Internet activities originating within the borders of many developed and developing countries across the Globe. Jamaica should be no different, and it is important to note that for several years now, Jamaicans have been waiting patiently on the Government to deliver ‘official protection’ in the form of Laws that are specific to activities on the Internet, whether it relates to trademarks, copyright, ecommerce or other. It’s now 2005 and we continue to wait.
You are reminded that Jamaicanjokes.com is a feast for ‘Adults Only’. The site creators make this very clear with a highlighted warning statement in the top left hand corner of the body of each webpage.
About the Writer, Philip Dinham
Phil Dinham is a member of our Jamaica prime time news team. He remains a Jamaican citizen in Ft Lauderdale, United States where he is an Arts and Science major at Nova Southeastern University. Philip is a certified media professional with over eight years of experience in formal media relations and radio broadcasting. Comment on this article and all Jamaica Prime Time presentations by writing respective authors at [email protected]