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Reflecting Ireland: An insight into customer behavioural change in Ireland - News and Social Media

18 July 2023

Ireland is a nation that is strongly engaged with news and current affairs. The majority engage daily and believe it is important to stay abreast of what is going on in the world. However, our consumption of news can negatively influence our emotional state, particularly among women. This negative impact can result in a disengagement from news media.

With the use of social media firmly established, the ways in which generations consume news has shifted. Older generations primarily consume news through traditional media with younger generations turning to digital and social channels as their primary source for news. Trust in media sources is a priority, with traditional media holding more credibility than digital. Fact-checking is now becoming a norm for younger generations.

Outside of news, our experience of social media is mixed. We are almost equally likely to say we spend too much time on social media as we are to say the time we spend is ‘just right’. In addition, one third say it has a negative impact on our wellbeing.

From our findings, we also find that the mood is recovering, but slowly and measured. We saw a further, albeit slight, uplift in sentiment from the previous quarter that Ireland is moving in the right direction. Economic outlook concerns continue to ease, but we still have some way to go.

From a personal situation perspective, there has been a further decrease in those who feel their financial situation is worse than 12 months ago, however, people are not feeling particularly better off compared to this time last year. The outlook for the next 12 months is slowly recovering, but people are remaining realistic.

Our relationship with news

  • We are daily consumers of news with 7 in 10 consuming at least once a day. Men and those aged over 55 are the most frequent consumers of news.
  • TV (67%) and radio (53%), both traditional media, are the two most popular sources of news, followed by digital sources: online news websites (49%), Google (42%) and Facebook (41%).
  • Irish people have the most trust in national radio (74%). Social media was the least trusted source for news with TikTok receiving the lowest trust endorsement (13%).
  • We experience more negative emotions than positive when consuming news, with pessimism being the most dominant emotion (almost 1 in 5 report feeling this).
  • Two-thirds of us have fact checked news. This habit is more common among those aged 18-24, a group more likely to use social media for news, versus those over the age of 55.
  • Protection against misinformation is a key priority for Irish people with 84% considering this important. AI is seen as a threat to ascertaining fact from fiction among 7 in 10 people.

How we use social media

  • Almost 9 in 10 (89%) of adults in Ireland use social media, with 44% saying they spend too much time on social platforms. Women (47%) and those aged 18-24 (69%) are most likely to report this feeling.
  • Of those who use social media, a third (33%) believe that it has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of social media users in Ireland use social media within the first hour of waking up in the morning, and 71% of social media users are online within an hour of falling asleep at night.
  • Overall, 18% of people have been the subject of harassment online. Those aged between 18-24yrs (34%) and 25-34 (32%) are significantly more likely to report such an experience.
  • 86% of the population agree with the idea that children spend too much time on social media.

Download the full #ReflectingIreland report here.

Read tips on how to protect yourself from misinformation here.

Read tips on how to manage your social media use here.

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