Friday 24 November 2017

Facebook still rules here but is losing lots of users overseas

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

Facebook might be falling out of favour in the UK and US, but in Ireland it still leaves other social networks in the dust.

New statistics show that the site's popularity is at an all-time high in this country.

It was used by an extra 4pc of the Irish population between February and May, despite the fact that it has lost nine million US visitors and two million UK visitors in the last six months.

One in two of us is on Facebook, which still has by far the biggest share of the Irish market, though Twitter has made substantial gains in recent months.

Just over a quarter of Irish people now have a Twitter account, sending out a staggering one million tweets every day.

Usage patterns demonstrate just how deeply both brands have penetrated Irish society.

Facebook says that 70pc of Irish users look at the site daily and have an average of 270 Facebook friends. Irish users generate 133 million 'likes', 81 million 'comments' and 77 million messages per month.

Twitter also continues to gain ground in this country.

The site has 600,000 daily Irish users who collectively send out about one million tweets a day.

Ireland has the tenth highest number of Twitter users per capita, after the US, UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, France, Indonesia and Iran.

Tweets can tell us a lot about popular opinion.

A study by student James Eggers, which analysed the collective mood of Irish tweets using a series of algorithms, revealed interesting trends in national sentiment during important milestones.

His research recorded a massive decline in the mood of tweets at 5.30pm on Budget Day in December 2010, when the government released a very austere budget.

The mood drop was maintained for a few hours, indicating that it was not an anomaly. Conversely he detected a surge of approval the following month, when the government announcement it was requesting financial aid from the EU.

This kind of information can be as valuable as national polls in determining the level of support for a government.

LinkedIn statistics are similarly revealing when it comes to how we network at work.

The biggest share of Irish users of the career networking service are in entry-level positions; this could indicate that this demographic has the most drive to network, but it should be noted that users of social networks always tend to be younger.

Still, 18pc of Irish people on LinkedIn are in senior roles and 11pc are managers. The site is most used by engineers in Ireland, followed by workers in operations roles and then sales people.

This flurry of activity doesn't come without a cost.

Dublin solicitors William Fry estimates that social networking by employees at work costs the Irish economy an estimated €700m per year.

It says that four-fifths of all Irish employees access social media at work, even though 40pc of companies prohibit this.

Irish Independent

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