- Encouraging your staff to talk about their company and their work in public.
- Encouraging your customers and competitors to read about your company’s thinking and products, and to allow them to comment back to you and each other.
Blogging has taken off in England with the general public, but in Ireland it has not. The English are generally regarded as reserved. On the other hand, through literature and taverns, the Irish are generally regarded as a great story-telling people. So why don’t the Irish blog?
We asked Tom Raftery … Raftery noted that the Irish are also noted for being “quite guarded when it comes to personal and emotional issues. On one hand, we are still quite parochial. On the other, some would say that because of our oral storytelling tradition we don’t need a blog to tell the world what we are thinking – just some friends, acquaintances, co-workers, passers by, or complete strangers, a pint of Guinness, or a dram of whiskey, and we have no problem communicating.”
More seriously, he explained that that most likely reason for Ireland’s dearth of bloggers is not cultural; it is that Ireland lags behind other countries in broadband adoption in the home, with about 3.4 subscribers for every 100 households. “Now, if the price of broadband were cheap enough that bars would provide free WiFi …” he speculated. But we think it will be awhile before tavern-based WiFi services displace darts as a pastime. In fact we hope so.
Tom’s figures are backed up by a Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment report at the beginning of June 2006 that confirmed that 33.6% of NI households have broadband access. (33.6% = 59% of homes with internet access, of which 57% use broadband.)
So one third of NI households now have broadband. The DETI spokesperson suggested that “take-up is further encouraged by connection costing no more that £27 per month.”
Now read what the DETI said about our neighbours:
This success is in sharp contrast to the much slower take-up rates in the Republic of Ireland. Ireland is currently lagging in the bottom quarter of the OECD's league tale of 30 countries. Ireland's penetration rate of 6.7 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants compares with an OECD average of 13.6 and an EU average of 11.8.So while Irish broadband usage has increased, it's still nowhere near northern levels. The digital divide cuts across our island.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show only 45.1 percent of Irish households had internet connections by the end of 2005, up from 38.2 percent in 2004.
Oh, and I don't think public WiFi will make much difference. By the time a pub can afford to install broadband and offer a secure service to customers, then the price will have fallen and the general broadband penetration across households will already be significantly higher.
But as a fairly recent entrant to the publishing end of the blogosphere, I'm encouraged by the community of Irish bloggers - north, south, east and west. Doesn't feel like a dearth.