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Why blogging isn't big in Ireland

Want to blog from County Mayo? Good luck getting a broadband link.

DUBLIN--Ireland might be one of Europe's more active technology hubs, but blogging still isn't big there.

That's the opinion of Tom Raftery, a longtime member of the tech community here and author of a blog on social media. (He's one of the bigger ones, and he starts his day by getting on Twitter.)

Part of the reason is that broadband penetration stinks. A survey published last June by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development pegged Ireland at No. 22 in terms of national broadband penetration by inhabitants, sandwiched between Italy and Portugal, but below the Scandinavian countries, the U.S., and Japan. In all, 15.4 people per 100 had broadband, and it's a small population on top of that. In all, the OECD counted 653,000 subscribers. That puts Ireland 27th overall, between New Zealand and the Slovak Republic.

Getting broadband to your house requires a lot of phone calls and appointment scheduling, one person told me. All those factors make it tough to start your own site.

A lot of people in the Irish tech community also tend to be somewhat reserved, Raftery said. You don't see execs or companies publishing their own blogs like Sun's Jonathan Schwartz does. That should change over time, however.

On the positive side for publishing, newspapers continue to do better than in the States, it seems. Dublin is still served by two major dailies, the Irish Independent and the Irish Times, as well as a bunch of smaller papers. Not bad for a city with 1.6 million residents in the urban hub and surrounding region.

And even though the country doesn't have many bloggers, and hence few arguments over the differences between journalists and bloggers, there is a dichotomy between journalists and reporters, a reporter called Derek Foley from the Irish Daily Star told me. Journalists specialize in writing well-crafted analysis pieces. Reporters might not be able to string two sentences together, but they are the ones who find out first about which soccer star was seen getting a lap dance.