Social Media Usage in Ireland
Social media is becoming a key factor in Irish people’s lives in this day and age. Figures are growing day by day in the social media world, there are currently 4.45 million social media users in Ireland, according to datareportal.ie .
Most people in Ireland have at least one social media account, according to shawconsulting.ie Facebook has remained the most popular social media platform, occupying 66% of account ownership in Ireland. In addition, Instagram is increasingly growing in account ownership at 39%. LinkedIn and Twitter are also popular sites among social media users in Ireland, occupying 33%. These stats have been collected from a recent survey conducted by Ipsos/MRBI.
It is without a doubt that the most popular device for social media usage is a smartphone. From a recent survey conducted by ComReg, they state that handset ownership is practically universal across Ireland, with 84% of the population owning a mobile device.
The two most popular smartphone brands in Ireland are Samsung Galaxy at 40% and Apple iPhone at 32%, with Huawei also being popular coming third at 13% and Sony Xperia fourth popular at 3%. From surveys and face-to-face interviews ComReg had also found that majority of Irish people use Android as their operating system taking up 68% of the population. IOS came second with 32% of the population using the operating system.
Social media has come a long way in the past 10 to 15 years and has become part of people’s daily routine. To find out more about the revolution of social media, check out the video below.
In terms of most popular social media sites, Facebook is the most popular followed by Instagram and Twitter, among Irish people. According to Octave Digital. An average of 72% of Irish people log onto Facebook regularly.
Why people use Social Media
To some people on the offset, it seems that social media is recreational but its a lot deeper than that. There are many psychological reasons behind why people use social media. According to Whiting and Williams (2013, p.362) who conducted a study of in-depth interviews with 25 individuals on behind the use of social media, they found out that there are ten uses and gratifications behind social media. The findings were that social media was used for; social interaction, pass time, information seeking, relaxation, communication, entertainment, expression of opinion, information sharing, convenience and knowledge/surveillance about others.
For most people the primary use of social media is for social interaction and communication. People use social media to communicate and interact with each other and even seek new friendships and relationships. Another use of social media found in this article to pass time and relieve freedom, people do this by watching films online or videos on Youtube. By watching films and videos online, entertainment and enjoyment is gained from social media for users. According to this article, many social media users state that they use social media for relaxation to relieve day-to-day stress. People almost use social media as a break from reality and their busy lives. Lastly according to Whiting and Williams (2013, p.365) article, people use social media for its convenience. Convenience is raised from activities like online shopping or other consumers reviews on social media sites on products or services .
Another article from King, (2015, p. 6) had a very simple explanation on why people use social media. King simply stated that people use social media to connect with others. Individuals use social media platforms to share and discuss favourite hobbies and interests with others. Social media platforms are used as online communities to connect with people with the same interests and hobbies.
Social media users utilize social media from two underlying motivations which are a need for the use of social media and the gratification users receive from using social media. Needs are “the combined product of psychological dispositions, sociological factors, and environmental conditions” (Katz, Haas, & Gurevitch, 1973, pp. 516–517) that motivate media use. Gratifications are the perceived fulfillment of a need through an activity, such as media use (Palmgreen, 1984). According to an article by Wang et al, (2012, p.1830) there are four general needs identified from social media use, which are cognitive needs, emotional needs, habitual needs and social needs. ( Wang et al , 2012, p. 1830)
- Whiting, A. and Williams, D. (2013). Why people use social media: a uses and gratifications approach, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol 16, No. 4, p. 362-367.
- King, David Lee, (2015). Why use social media?, Library Technology Reports, Vol 51, Issue 1, p. 6-9.
- Wang, Z. Tchernev, J.M. and Solloway, J. (2012). A dynamic longitudinal examination of social media use, needs and gratifications among college students, Computers in Human Behaviour, Vol 28, Issue 5, p. 1829-1839.