Facebook means business in Ireland with impressive growth rate

5 Jan 2009

Twice as many Irish people are on Facebook now compared to a year ago, and the social network is gaining more of a university and business profile, according to Damien Mulley of Mulley Communications.

Statistics Mulley has compiled from Facebook’s ad system show the number of users in Ireland has jumped from 200,000 in January 2008 to 400,980 this January. This is particularly remarkable considering there were only 7,000 users of the social-networking service two years ago.

Mulley’s research shows Facebook is favoured by older people, with 68.9pc of users aged 25 and above on it and 36.9pc are 30 years or over.

“With any social-networking site, the most important thing is the people on it. Feedback I’ve received over the past few years indicates that a lot of the people over 20 who were on Bebo were only there because their friends were,” said Mulley.

“Older people seem to be more comfortable on Facebook because it has a cleaner interface and is less noisy than other networking sites.”

Another reason Facebook is appealing to older people is because it has more of a business feel to it, he adds.

“It caters to colleges and businesses as users have the option to enter their college or company name. Users’ parents and lecturers are joining up, and at business networking events people are exchanging Facebook details. While the information on the site is still about personal connections, in the business context, people are using Facebook to get a fuller picture of contacts or potential recruits.”

Mulley noted that in the US, investment banks are encouraging their staff to use Facebook as an ideal way of luring new talent into organisations. “Facebook is being used as a passive human resources (HR) tool by these companies to find employees like the ones they have – around the same age, with similar educational backgrounds and levels of experience.

“HR departments are not that open here, but they are definitely using Facebook to look people up before they come in for interview.”

By Sorcha Corcoran