Ireland's Top 30 Business Tweeters are blazing a trail worth following, writes Vincent O'Dowd
TWITTER is the social-networking site we are all talking about. It contains a lot of information that is useful to business people -- alongside an awful lot of trivia that isn't.
The Sunday Independent has selected its inaugural list of the top 30 Irish business people to follow on Twitter. Our selection by its nature is skewed towards technology entrepreneurs but, over time, as the social network becomes more and more mainstream, we expect this will change.
We've tried to pick a good mixture of commentators, brands and agencies to demonstrate the range of ways in which Twitter can be used.
Comscore, the digital analytics consultancy, estimates 449,000 Irish people over the age of 15 use it. About 100,000 people use it here every day -- a lot of potential customers for businesses struggling to survive the recession.
Many Irish businesses and business leaders remain wary, however. Damian Mulley, head of Mulley Communications, says he expects this to change in the coming year.
"Twitter has been seen as having a very celebrity and sports-star-driven content, so businesses haven't seen the benefit of having an account. I think that once the proper business tools are available on Twitter, more businesses will move over."
Aidan McLaughlin, head of technology at Fleishman-Hillard, also expects Twitter use by Irish businesses to boom. "Twitter is providing a new model of engagement for businesses. 'What are you doing?' is Twitter's default question, and normally, the answer is trivial. But when the context becomes an emergency or a crisis then the hundreds of answers to that question arriving in real time become important news and a rich source of information for an organisation."
Who Sean O'Sullivan
Why Dragon's Den star and managing director of investment fund SOSventures International. He made his fortune investing in Apple, Netflix and Guitar Hero. Now he's a backer of Irish companies and campaigner to make it easier for tech engineers to move to Ireland.
Twitter name @sosventures Twitter followers 12,947
Who Stephen McIntyre
Why This tweeter is hot property. Adam Bain, Twitter's president of global revenue, said that "I couldn't be more excited" after poaching Mr McIntyre from Google earlier this year. He wants to help turn Twitter into a big business -- and do a lot of it in Europe out of its headquarters in Dublin.
Twitter Name @stephenpmc
Twitter followers 584
Who Orlaith Blaney
Why The chief executive of McCann Erickson is a prolific tweeter with interests ranging from advertising industry trends to the Olympics. Always entertaining, Ms Blaney regularly posts links to interesting websites or articles relating to big brands or innovative uses of advertising.
Twitter name @orlaithb
Twitter followers 1,877
Who Tullow Oil
Why The €14.5bn explorer has become pretty active on Twitter. Alongside posting regular updates on its drilling around the world, it also posts pictures of its executives signing new deals with various African leaders. It also uses the social network to update followers with quotes from its chief executive Aidan Heavey and interesting short videos showing work in progress.
Twitter name @tullowoilplc
Twitter followers 3,462
Who Patrick Collison and his brother, John Collison
Why Patrick, the older of the tech genius brothers, is just 23 and describes his interests as books, code, tools, and cities. His younger brother John, 21, is as likely to talk good coffee shops in San Francisco as he is start-ups. Their company Stripe.com, which hopes to take on PayPal, is already worth $100m (€82m).
Twitter names @Patrickc
Twitter followers 4,318 & 2,172
Who Bord Bia
Why All things food-related in Ireland. Eclectic interests from covering big brands to the Grow It Yourself movement. Shows how a State body should use Twitter with lots of links and pictures.
Twitter name @BordBia
Twitter followers 8,486
Who Bobby Kerr
Why The Dragon's Den star is responsible for your local Insomnia cafe. His Twitter 'feed' is good for silly photographs as well as business tips. Mr Kerr is especially active when his radio show airs on Newstalk every Sunday, when he reveals his views on that day's newspapers as well his guests.
Twitter name @bobbykerr
Twitter followers 5,408
Who James Whelton
Why James is founder of coderdojo, an ever-expanding not-for-profit club to teach kids how to code. Expect tweets on everything to do with coding, developing websites and mobile apps to tips about games.
Twitter name @jwhelton
Twitter followers 5,108
Who Constantin Gurdgiev
Why The vocal economist is best-known for his appearances on Vincent Browne's late-night talk show on TV3. One of the most active users of Twitter, expect lots of discussion of the euro crisis, links to his personal blog and commentary on the economic news of the day.
Twitter name @GTCost
Twitter followers 15,594
Who Liam Casey
Why Dubbed 'Mr China' in the world of tech, Mr Casey got into business in China in 1996 to supply components to computer manufacturers. His company, PCH International, has a turnover of $400m (€329m) a year and followers can expect lots of stuff on China and global business trends.
Twitter name @liamcasey
Twitter followers 2,342
Why Highly opinionated @Namawinelake keeps his or her identity a secret. Expect plenty of analysis on anything Nama or property-related. Never holds back, but open to debate.
Twitter name @namawinelake
Twitter followers 5,310
Who Simon O'Connor
Why Spokesman for our masters in the European Commission on economic and monetary affairs. Useful for keeping up with the Commission's official line with regular links to press releases. Sample tweet: "Reports in the German press about a troika report on Greece, and its alleged contents, are false."
Who David McWilliams
Why The popular economist tweets his blog posts and insights into the economy. Entertaining commentary combines with serious analysis and easy-to-understand 'punk economics'.
Twitter name @davidmcw
Twitter followers 64,054
Who Paul O'Mahony
Why He is a social networking animal for businesses, consistently tweeting advice on how businesses can manage and maximise their social networking platforms. A columnist with the Sunday Independent, he is known to post interesting Instagram photos, which always pique the interest.
Twitter name @PaulatSMF
Twitter followers 220,273
Who Brenda Kelly
Why Senior market strategist with spread-betting firm CMC Trading. Strong on posting quick reactions to breaking financial news both in Dublin and London. The UCD graduate explains developments simply with links to the more complicated stuff.
Twitter name @Brenda_Kelly
Twitter followers 2,581
Who Intel Ireland
Why A lot more personality than the computer chips it is famous for. The account has an interesting level of engagement on many things outside the computer world. Clever and unexpected comment on the Olympics and occasional free giveaways like Beats by Dr Dre Headphones are up for grabs.
Twitter name @Intel_IRL
Twitter followers 816
Who Diarmaid Mac Mathuna
Why Expect plenty of comment on how physics affects the life of every tweeter. As head of client services at Agtel, a company specialising in creative video content for businesses, Mr Mac Mathuna is the cerebral tweeter with a twist. Tweeting about live webcasts of events like the European Science TV & New Media Festival earlier this month. Handy when you want to learn about things like Higgs boson.
Twitter followers 353
Who Michael FitzGerald
Why The Galway man is an experienced entrepreneur and mentor. The founder of OnePageCRM helps businesses use technology to hold onto their customers. Tweets mainly about small business mixed with personal thoughts.
Twitter name @micfitzgerald
Twitter followers 1,487
Who Google Dublin & Celine Crawford
Why Google has two corners of its mouth. Socially, it is trying to create a buzz around its Google Plus platform, ironically in part by using Twitter. On its @googledublin feed, you can win cinema tickets, go for free beers, interact in real life with googlers. Celine Crawford is the official public relations officer for Google in Dublin, the Donegal lass's Twitter feed will helpfully alert you to new features such as Google maps as well as her own musings.
Twitter names @googledublin & @Celinemmc
Twitter followers 1,434 & 313
Who Paul Hayes
Why Want to know what's going on in the tech industry in Ireland? You could do worse than follow this coffee-sipping ideas man. If there are investment opportunities for Irish start-ups he will sniff them out. Is there a new Irish start-up company that has just come up with an innovative idea for irrigation in East Africa? Mr Hayes will know.
Twitter name @paulhayesman
Twitter followers 1,744
Who Ray Nolan
Why Web entrepreneur, who made megabucks selling Web Reservations International, the online budget accommodation-booking service behind hostelworld.com and hostels.com. Now a serial investor.
Twitter followers 1,073
Why The Pratt family-owned food to homewares group is clever in its use of Twitter. It uses its Twitter feed to tell customers about new products or in-store events in a friendly way. Worth taking ideas from.
Twitter name @avocaireland
Twitter followers 4,527
Who Megan Greene
Why Head of the Western European team at Roubini Global Economics. Ms Greene specialises in covering Europe's troubled periphery and so regularly comments on Ireland. Great analysis of the latest ECB sticking plaster to fix our never-ending crisis.
Twitter followers 15,598
Who Norah Casey
Why An RTE dragon and publisher of Ireland's largest magazine company which includes titles such as Irish Tatler, Woman's Way, Food & Wine and Auto Ireland. Straight talker.
Twitter name @norahcasey
Twitter followers 4,278
Who Philip O'Sullivan