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Ar mhuin na éan: How the TG4 Twitter account became a hit

TG4 has taken a distinctive approach for their social media presence: have the craic.

IN AN ERA of doom and gloom, audiences are looking for levity on their social media feeds.

In stark contrast to other television channel’s coverage of Brexit or Covid-19, TG4 has taken another approach for their social media presence: have the craic.

The Twitter account for TG4 has gained over 11,000 followers this year, a 20% growth compared to this time last year.

The account is currently on 54,000 followers.

According to Deirdre Ní Choistín, communications manager with TG4, “we quickly realised that TG4 needed to provide a space online that was a Covid-free zone as much as we could.”

“The audience were getting their news and updates about Covid elsewhere and we were not looking to amplify that, but wanted to provide good quality content that took people’s minds off Covid when they were engaging with us online,” she explained.

“We did that through music, campaigns such as #2kónmbaile and through our use of humour on Twitter.”

The account primarily tweets in Irish, but through usage of gifs or memes, the social media strategy has become a hit.

“It’s great for us to see the enjoyment people who haven’t spoken Irish since leaving school get from our Twitter account,” Ní Choistín added.

There is a team of up to six people involved in tweeting from the account. 

“The tone is consistent because there is freedom within the team to have fun but stay true to TG4,” Ní Choistín said. 

Discussing the work that goes into running the account, Ní Choistín said “The team works together to come up with the best ways to have fun on the platforms and to market programmes on TG4 to stand out from the noise and to make people laugh or think as we are doing it.”

“I think TG4 stand out from the crowd because we know who our audience is and what they like from us.”

“Audience is key to everything we do in TG4 from on-air scheduling to our player to social media,” she added.

“The TG4 Intern” has become somewhat of a cult figure among Irish Twitter users who like to guess at the identity of the people behind the account. Ní Choistín said that they are “doing a great job of making us all laugh.”

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Ní Choistín noted her favourite part of working on the TG4 Twitter account is working with this mysterious, elusive intern.

Twitter can be a febrile place at the best of times, but the account gets very little negative feedback, she notes, “especially this year”. 

“When we do, it’s usually when there’s a problem with something in our schedule rather than the Twitter account. People are happy to get a bit of light relief from Covid-related stories.”

Ireland’s online community is burgeoning, with the Ireland sub-Reddit boasting 335,000 members and Ireland Simpsons Fans on Facebook recently passing 150,000 members.

When asked about the Irish grá for internet communities, Ní Choistín offered an interesting theory:

 ”The Irish people have adapted to online content very quickly. From watching live TV shows and the Irish Twitter commenting as though they are friends in a sitting room, creates a great sense of community.”

“Irish people are very quick-witted and the Irish take on life is really quite special. From our long history of storytelling, Irish humour gets us through the darkest of days.”

About the author:

Mike Finnerty

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