Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cross Country event, “Tapping Into the Collective Genius”, is the latest initiative from the Government of Jamaica. The announcement which comes from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) was splatter across their webpage under the heading TO FOLLOW OR NOT TO FOLLOW – ICT CROSS COUNTRY EVENTS GIVE “SCHOOLERS” INSIGHTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND MORE.”

The event is expected to kicks-off in the second city at the St James Parish Library on June 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. under the caption Tapping Into the Collective Genius”, and is anticipated to explore the pros and cons of social networking sites at what is dubbed “the Montego Bay leg of the ICT Cross Country event”.

Organised by the Central Information Technology Office (CITO) in the Office of the Prime Minister, the event comes after admittance on local Television stations by Cabinet Ministers that social networks were spread false news in the recent stand-off in Tivoli Gardens. The reliance on social media, as news agents, arose after much of traditional media was either slow, tardy or deliberately omitted giving updates in the joint police-military force fighting against insurgents trying to prevent an execution of the United States (U.S.) extradition request of alleged strongman of that district Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.

In specifically addressing the matter the release from the OPM stated:

“The recent events in Jamaica have led to a phenomenal rise in the use of social media websites as a source of breaking local news ….much of that information, however comes with the buyer beware notice: “unconfirmed, uncorroborated”. One such site with the motto “hear it, spread it, confirm it” has 22,000 followers whom they regard as reporters.”

The tag line “hear it, spread it, confirm it” is associated with the Facebook Group On the Ground News Reports.

The release from the OPM noted, “The event is the second in a three-part lead up to the Caribbean ICT Road show that will be held in Kingston from June 28-29. During the day at the library, secondary school students will be exposed to the opportunities that ICT presents for career development and also business opportunities.”

In recent times many entities on the international scene have been integrating social media networks as part of their market lure to boost, maintain and even to find new ways of reaching their markets.

Prominence on the issue perhaps broke with talks that President of the United States (U.S.), Barack Obama was heavily technologically-inclined. And shortly after being installed Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton introduced ICT companies from the U.S., including twitter, as possible means of enhancing accountability in the government restructuring process in Middle East countries.

In “Tapping Into the Collective Genius” the OMP have drawn on presenters who have capitalised and used social media to boost their companies. These includes, event promoter Marlon Campbell of Dance Concept; social event photo publisher, Dale Kirk of Socialingua; Dave Foster of local e-commerce pioneer, Virtual Mall and digital publisher David Mullings of Random Media.

Exhibitors at the event include e-learning Jamaica, which is focused on bringing functional ICT access into all schools; ICT4D, an agency dedicated to development projects utilizing ICT; Random Media, the Jamaica Library Service and the Social Development Commission.

Giveaways and other activities of the day are supported by Digicel Business, Fujitsu, Innovative Corporate Solutions, Spectrum Management Authority, Microsoft, Infotech and Xsomo.

Telecommunication Company Flow is expected to power the event with Internet services.

Click here to read Media Release from the Office of the Prime Minister