Campaign to bring Twitter HQ to Dublin begins

17 Feb 2011

A Twitter user who has written books on privacy and intellectual property has taken it upon himself to launch a campaign on the social networking site to encourage Twitter to locate its European HQ in Dublin.

Twitter’s arrival in Dublin would complete the Royal Flush assembled in the city with the help of IDA Ireland, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon and Microsoft, not to mention eBay, whose sister company PayPal announced a further 150 jobs in Dublin.

Last week, it emerged that e-commerce giant bought a 22,539 sq-metre facility at Greenhills Industrial Estate in Dublin 24. The company plans to convert the former warehouse into a cutting-edge cloud computing data centre.

Dublin: the internet capital of Europe

These activities are all lending credence to Dublin’s claim to being the internet capital of Europe.

The campaign that has begun on Twitter in recent days has amassed only 200 followers so far, but the man leading the charge, Adrian Bannon, believes it’s an opportunity for Irish people to play a role in helping IDA Ireland assemble even more great internet companies here.

Ireland is competing against London as a location for its European HQ and Bannon believes people power – which essentially Twitter is all about – should be the lever that could win Ireland the decision and aid job creation.

It emerged in December that Twitter was scouting several European locations with a view to locating a “small presence” in Europe to begin with.

Bannon, who is studying technology commercialisation at UL and who previously worked at the Institute of International and European Affairs, has written a book about privacy and is now writing a book on intellectual property law.

Explaining why he began the campaign he said: “I was thinking to myself, wouldn’t it be great to do something novel with social media, and in the past few weeks I saw the power of social media for civic purposes in Egypt and Iran.

“That got me thinking about what if a nation used it for economic purposes to bring a powerhouse like Twitter, which is deciding on where to locate its European HQ, to Dublin.”

Bannon said the IDA has done an outstanding job in landing all the other social media and internet powers in Dublin but maybe people, too, can make a statement of intent.

“What a thing it would be to have citizens who use Twitter to reach out to the very platform itself and ask it in person to come to Ireland. Considering all the other social media powers we have here, it would be the icing on the cake,” Bannon said.

To support to Bannon’s campaign, just follow him, and hopefully enough tweets will encourage a big bird to roost in Dublin.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years