Some 23pc of adults in the Republic of Ireland use social networking sites compared with 17pc of adults in Northern Ireland, the latest TGI (Target Group Index) data reveals.
The growth of social networking has been explosive, with the proportion who do it more than doubling from 11pc last year.
Dublin has the highest proportion of social networkers at 33pc of the population, whilst the west of Ireland has the lowest at 12pc. Adults aged 15-24 are more than two and a half times more likely than the average population to use social networking sites regularly.
According to the data, Bebo is the most popular networking site with 850,000 visitors, followed by Facebook with 800,000.
Just under half a million adults – 14pc of the population – are visitors to both sites.
MySpace is rather less popular, with around 300,000 visitors. YouTube outperforms all of the networking sites, with 1.3m visitors (nearly 40pc of the population), underlining the popularity of watching video online.
Regular social networkers are a valuable group to advertisers as they are particularly useful for spreading commercial messages.
They are 80pc more likely than the average adult to talk to many different people about alcoholic drinks, 70pc more likely to have talked to many others about toiletries, and 55pc more likely to have talked about mobile phones.
They are also 25pc more likely to agree that people come to them for advice before buying something new.
By John Kennedy
Photo: Bebo is the most popular social networking site with adults in the Republic of Ireland, the latest Target Group Index data suggests.