Published: Wednesday May 28, 2014 | 6:09 pm
The management of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica has indicated that the administrator of its Twitter account disobeyed instructions when he deactivated the handle on Monday.
In a release this afternoon, the Met Service said the incident was regrettable.
“It is indeed unfortunate that this action was taken rather than the intended suspension of use, pending the establishment of controls,” a Met Service spokesperson said in the release.
The release gave no indication as to whether any action has been taken against the employee.
However, it noted that the management made the decision to suspend activity on its Twitter account on Monday following several calls about the content of some of the posts and the perception that they reflected the personal views of the staff rather than the official position of the organization.
One tweet, for example, read: “Waterboots can be sexy with fitted pants.”
There were also tweets soliciting tickets for an event, and another making a veiled criticism about the Government shortly after a tax package was announced last month.
“It’s a little known fact that Gov’ts use the eve of holidays to introduce/usher in new financial measures and taxes,” read a tweet posted on April 18 ahead of the Easter holiday.
The Met Service says after a critical review, it was determined that the concerns were justified, and that there was an “obvious shortcoming” in the supervision of the account.
“In order to develop guidelines and protocols to safeguard the integrity of the information posted by the Meteorological Service, a discontinuation of further tweets was requested. At no time did the management of the Meteorological Service order that the account be de-activated,” said the Met Service spokesperson.
The Met Service has apologised for the inconvenience and apparent disappointment that this has generated, saying it is currently taking steps to restore the service in the shortest time.
The above article was posted to the Gleaner website on May 28, 2014.
It is clear from the article, that there is a total discrepancy with regard to the official release issued by the service and what the Gleaner says. It is also very obvious that there is an attempt being made to discredit the individual responsible for the account and not necessarily the account itself. The article states that “There were also tweets soliciting tickets for an event”. The Gleaner has this all incorrect and there was no solicitation whatsoever. The event in question is the Earth Hour which took place at the same time of World Met Day and World Water day near in March of 2013. The egg represents the response from the MetServiceJA account. The discourse below was a conversation, the results of which were known to the Branch Head and the Director. Note that there is nothing in it to clarify whether or not the authorities knew of the event. Mr. Thompson was however told to seek representation from staff for persons interested in attending. Mr. Joaquin Robinson indicated he would and Mr. Romayne Robinson also asserted possibility in attending. This is the event that the Gleaner has blown out of context, has used to reduce the credibility of the account and the person who runs it. Romayne Robinson did not attend the event as he was rostered for an evening shift, and it is unknown whether or not Mr. Joaquin Robinson had attended. However, it is felt that even through word of mouth for social events such as these, a word-of-mouth yes or no answer should suffice when confirming attendance officially.
The conversation above represents dialogue between the MetServiceJA account and Where in JA. The event in question was a conference in Montego Bay, where Met staff was actually in attendance. It purports no solicitation and the event details were not known at the time of response. However, on further consultation with @Chunchi, it was reaslised that Mr. Spooner and Mr. Mahlung were in attendance and representing the Met Service in an official capacity.
The statement “Waterboots can be sexy with fitted pants” was not a tweet from the MetServiceJA account, but was a retweet from one made by @Corvedacosta. It is clearly acknowledged that this was inappropriate and will definitely not happen again. Retweets are sometimes suggested and not always checked and the handler and indeed the MetServiceJA account will indeed take care to manage the automation of retweet suggestions. Mr. DaCosta is a media expert blogger and has also helped in the early stages of the MetServiceJA account development, by highlighting our possible nomination for the best Corporate Twitter account in Jamaica for 2012. A few of his endorsements are listed below.
Making mention that “It’s a little known fact that Gov’ts use the eve of holidays to introduce/usher in new financial measures and taxes,” was a tweet sent out directly by the MetServiceJa account based on the topic popularity map at the time as well as the discussion in Jamaica in general. The Tweet, it was felt, was a way to inject the MetServiceJA account into the stream of discussion. It had some positive consequences, as well as some negative connotations, on account that some felt it should not have been said by MetServiceJA. It is acknowledged that it was inappropriate and measures will be taken to ensure the topics remain weather based. The following articles and documents attest to the introduction or removal of financial measures on or prior to bank holidays or public holidays.