When you look at those who use Twitter in Northern Ireland, you find they fall into a few distinct categories.
- They are often social by nature, due to the needs of their work or their personal character
- They have something to promote, either themselves or their business (often one and the same)
- Their profile is important to them. They wish to command authority over a sector or niche
- They are members of the digerati, often in the picture, design or web design field.
- They already have a site, or blog
- They often have lots of down-time due to the nature of their work, or lack of it
- They’ve a need to feel socially connected
- They want to keep up with the news and views of a social group
But these are the active Twitterers. The vast majority of those registered are new and come with expectations. Caroline Mullan, of the Mullan Gallery on the Lisburn Road ( twitterID@mullangallery ) is one of these. She has 10 followers. I asked Caroline what lured her to Twitter.
She said: “It’s a new area which we have to take notice of. I have teenagers, and Twittering for them has made me realise it’s very much a part of life. It does have uses, but how best to use it for the gallery? We’ll use it to promote the artists and publicise through networks what’s happening in the gallery.
“Sometimes people feel hesitant about getting involved in the visual arts and Twitter is a good way to break down barriers and inform and encourage them to come in.”
I asked her what got her started with Twitter. She said: “I see it a bit like mobile phones, years ago. Unusual then, but now I wouldn’t let the kids out without one. But then I was on holiday on the Beara Peninsula and someone tweeted my son and said the Spaceshuttle is coming over. We walked outside and within 10 minutes we had the most amazing sight. And I thought, I just have to get on Twitter.”
Emmet Kelly is a Dublin |entrepreneur and founder of the Net Behaviour digital ad agency. |He writes The Tannoy.com blog. He’s an expert at social media monitoring.