Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications, Senator Darcy Boyce, has lauded the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) for continuing to serve as a connection between government and the public, an effort which was given a boost with its social media launch today.

Speaking this morning at the event, which was held at Almond Bay, Hastings, Christ Church, Minister Boyce observed that the introduction of the BGIS??? presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and its existing website and YouTube channel, would continue to serve its public communication mandate, especially with the younger demographic.

???You now have an opportunity to grab the attention and establish a dialogue between Government and its young citizens, the future leaders of this country. I believe that the interest of most young persons in current affairs can be piqued if we use their language and their communication devices, remembering that modern technology forces the communicator to be more dynamic and focused and to provide more attractively packaged information,??? he said.

Senator Boyce further added: ???Public or government information is seen by many as uninteresting and uninspiring, and only for certain age groups???Vital communication from Government agencies can, more than ever, be easily lost in a sea of data that is often presented in compelling and attractive ways by persons with vast marketing capabilities and resource.???

However, he observed that it was Government???s responsibility to engage the public and encouraged the BGIS to ???to take up the challenge to utilise technology in more creative ways to draw in the reluctant consumer, to attract new audiences and widen your demographic???.

The Telecommunications Minister also noted that any media organisation that wanted to remain viable and relevant in today???s world had no choice but to implement the use of new media; maintain its consumer base and attract new customers.

He added that the use of new media was integral to delivering pertinent information to various markets, noting that social media would create more efficient sharing of information, from emergency closures to natural disasters.

???I see work in emergency management being closely tied in with what we are planning in telecommunications, to use SMS messaging systems on phones to be able to communicate to people during emergency situations,??? he said, adding that the BGIS??? plans to use Facebook for hurricane tips and urgent Government notices would increase the reach of such messages.

Concerning the agency???s Pride and Industry campaign, which was also officially launched today, Minister Boyce remarked that the effort ???aims to educate Barbadians about measures being undertaken by Government to generate activity in its productive sectors???

???If persons are to be convinced that everyone can contribute to the growth of this island’s economy, a social media campaign, that includes topics such as spending, saving and investing, backyard gardening, the food zone project, the green economy, recycling, establishing small businesses, among others, is the perfect vehicle for reaching a wide cross section of persons locally and in the diaspora and engaging them in an interactive programme.???

Senator Boyce offered a word of caution regarding the negative side of social media, pointing out that it could contribute to reduced productivity in the workplace and asked users to consider the impact of what was disseminated to a worldwide audience.

However, he stressed that the internet had created an environment where, ???your opportunities for business and personal development are limited only by the breadth of your imagination. So spend your social media time wisely, and harness that power??? Rather than being a passive consumer of games on your tablets and smartphones, why not become the creator of a game or a new application.???

Encouraging the BGIS to carry on in its service to the community via engagement and sharing of information, Minister Boyce highlighted the fact that the social media was an important new way of providing that service.

He told those present that the deployment of the social media would only properly serve the country if it was used in conjunction with the customary and even increasing attention to ???the integrity and quality of the content that you publish???.

The BGIS may be found online at; on the YouTube channel, thebgis; and on Twitter and Instagram at @gisbarbados.

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