The state of the social nation

21 Jan 2010

Ireland has come a long way from a mostly rural population, or, as my father would say, many of us are only a couple of generations from the tail end of a cow. We’ve gone from rural isolation where the only options for socialising were the local pub, the annual field day and a good wake (!), to embracing online social media and having a bit of a reputation as a chatty bunch that are quite attached to our mobile phones.

I remember when I was on my J1 back in the early Noughties and being distraught at not being able to text regularly and having to go to an internet cafe to check my email (Facebook hadn’t yet arrived) and to my horror my US friends and colleagues had yet to get into the whole SMS craze.

This love of technology that enables conversations has continued. A recent report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that on a typical day, almost one-fifth (19pc) of Americans use the internet on a mobile device.

Survey says

Albeit working with a modest sample of 109 respondents, Simply Zesty’s social-media survey was interesting in that it found 72pc of Irish internet users access the web regularly on their mobile phone.

And it’s all about getting to know people online: 50pc of us have more than 101 or more Facebook friends, while a whopping 36pc of us spend between one and two hours posting, tweeting, instant messaging, commenting or blogging each day. Phew!

And for those of you who suspect that all this chatting consists of nothing more cerebrally stimulating than “OMG me too!” comments, it looks as though lots of us are engaging intelligently through forums such as and blogs. So thanks to our embracing of the online space, the Irish remain chatty and well read.


Online and offline news

In fact, we’re getting quite cerebral in our choice of online activities: 83pc read news online on a daily basis and “dead tree” media doesn’t fare as well with respondents – only 11pc buy a daily paper, while the majority (48pc) stick to the beefier weekend editions.

It is perhaps not that unusual that productivity is an important element of our digital lives, but what was quite revealing in terms of how much the Irish have embraced the online world was the fact that 57pc of those who took the survey said their business or company has a blog, while 55pc have their own personal blog.

And here’s one for the advertisers out there: 55pc revealed that they had clicked on a surrounding/nearby advertisement while using a social-media service such as Facebook or Twitter.

By Marie Boran