Seven years of Twitter in Ireland
Who and what makes the micro-blogging site great in our country
From a TD leaving the Government whip via a latin message to a bogus statment potentially changing the result of the presidential election, Twitter has influenced our country more than some may care to imagine.
Today marks the seventh birthday of the social media site, which internationally generates 40million tweets every day and has attracted 200million users. It may not seem that a micro-blogging website could change Ireland ’s political and social landscapes, but over those seven years, Twitter has slowly crept its way into the public psyche. Here are ten standout times where Twitter has had the nation talking.
When the Sinn Féin leader tweeted that he felt an adventure coming on after ‘RG’ took his car keys, people understandably began to doubt the account’s authenticity. It wasn’t long before Sinn Féin officials confirmed the account was the real Gerry Adams, much to our delight. Gerry soon introduced his teddy bear collection to the world, including his favourite, Ted and his same-sex partner Tom.
Bogus McGuinness tweet
A tweet from a fake Martin McGuinness account during the presidential election in 2011 caused chaos after researchers on RTÉ ’s The Frontline thought it was genuine and it was read out live on air. This tweet made false allegations against Indepedent candidate Seán Gallagher.
Chris Andrews ’s secret Twitter
Former Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews fell into a massive Twitter trap last year after it was revealed he was behind an anonymous account criticising his party, his constituency and party leaders. Going by the name @brianformerff, Mr Andrews was eventually outted by the husband of a woman he anonymously criticised. He has since left the party.
Sinead O’Connor cancels appearance at Aung San Suu Kyi concert
The controversial singer took to Twitter to show her outrage after she was asked not to voice her opinions during a show for Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi last summer. The request led her to cancel her appearance. She also took a swipe at Bono and Bob Geldof.
“There is no such thing as freedom of speech for women in Ireland on this day, when the nice lady from Burma is being celebrated by those who... have attempted to gag a female artist, while at the same time exploiting her singing abilities,” she tweeted.
Paul Gogarty concedes
Former Green Party TD was always one of the most outspoken Irish politicians on Twitter. In the run up to the general election, Mr Gogarty often verbally lashed followers for abusing him on the social media website.
Mr Gogarty became the first Irish politician to concede via Twitter during general election 2011. Since losing his seat, Mr Gogarty has followed his passion for music, often tweeting about his songs.
Tweets in Irish from space
Although many of us may now only have a cúpla focal, we were very excited to see Canadian astronaut commander Chris Hadfield use his knowldege of the language from the International Space Station. He tweeted a picture of Dublin by night from space, saying: “Tá Éire fíorálainn! Land of green hills dark beer. With Dublin glowing in the Irish night.”
He followed up on St Patrick’s Day by tweeting a picture of himself wearing green for the day and by uploading his own version of Danny Boy from space.
Coveney questions Cowen’s sobriety
Following a disasterous interview from former Taoiseach Brian Cowen on Morning Ireland in 2010, the now Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney tweeted that he sounded somewhere between drunk and hungover.
Mr Coveney added that the Taoiseach sounded uninspiring and disinterested. Mr Cowen later apologised for the interview.
Keaveney’s Latin farewell
Galway TD Colm Keaveney took a stand against the Government and his own party in December when he tweeted “Acta non verba”, the Latin for deeds, not words. Mr Keaveney then voted against the Government-proposed Social Welfare Bill.
In the process Mr Keaveney became the fifth TD to leave the Labour parliamentary party.
Top ten Irish Twitter users
1. Niall Horan - 10,231,932 followers
The One Direction singer from Mullingar may not live in Ireland full-time anymore, but he is still our top Twitter user.
2. Great Minds Quotes - 1,820,847 followers
Life coach Sinead Duffy may not be a household name, but she has an impressive following on Twitter due to her inspirational quotes.
3. Jedward - 774,596 followers
They may be keeping quiet for now, but the Grimes twins still are big fans of keeping their supporters aware of their antics via social media.
4. Paul Higgins - 667,935 followers
Head of One Direction’s bodyguard maintains the fourth highest Twitter following in the country.
5. Evanna Lynch - 478,882 followers
6. ‘Niall Horan’ - 474,239 followers
A parody Twitter account set up by One Direction fans has the sixth-highest following on Twitter of any account marked as Irish.
7. Janet Devlin - 390,490 followers
The Tyrone-native came fifth in X-Factor two years ago.
8. Ronan Keating - 382,626 followers
Boyzone’s former frontman may be steering clear of the public eye, but is still a fan of Twitter.
9. Paul O’Mahony - 368,888 followers
Believe it or not, Paul O’Mahony has nothing to do with One Direction, but rather he is an online expert who has travelled around the world giving presentations.
10 ‘One Direction ’ - 320,906 followers
Continuing on Twitter’s odd fascination with boyband culture, this fan page is run by an unknown Irish fan.