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    Irish Times: Ireland crazy about social networking, surveys show

    The Irish Times reports on social networking sites and privacy attitudes in Ireland and the EU:

    SOME RECENT reports give interesting insight into how the general Irish population and Irish businesses view and use social networking services.

    A recent survey by the EU’s Eurobarometer incorporates data on the perceptions of various European populations on social networking and privacy. And a survey by Regus, an international workplace solution provider, of 17,000 business managers and owners across 80 countries, published this week, gives perspective on business attitudes toward social networking.

    What both surveys show is that Ireland is crazy about social networking. It features among the heaviest social network users in Europe, and the heaviest business users internationally. […]

    According to the EU, Irish internet users are the fourth heaviest users in Europe of social media sites. Some 68 per cent of us say we participate on such sites. The heaviest users are in Hungary (80 per cent), Latvia (73 per cent), and Malta (71 per cent). Poland, Denmark and Slovakia also rank among the heavier users. […]

    According to this survey, more than half – 52 per cent – of Irish companies actually encourage employees to join business networks. While that is about average globally, Irish companies are well ahead of average in committing marketing cash to social networking activity, according to the survey. […]

    But there are some warnings for businesses that come across in the EU survey. Just because people use social networks in large proportions does not mean they are not concerned about their privacy.

    The Irish respondents to the EU survey showed an average concern about the privacy of the information given to social networks, with 50 per cent worrying that it might be misused. By contrast, curiously, only 29 per cent of Swedes have such a concern.

    A large majority of EU residents generally – 88 per cent – think their personal data would be better protected in large companies if those companies were obliged to have a data protection officer.

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