Tracking the social media element of news publications yields some interesting results. Looking at the infamous Facebook likes and fans shows that the papers are making an effort on that front recruiting fans on a daily basis.
Tracking this back to June of last year you can see that the Irish Times had the jump on the Independent, but the latter hunted them down over the year and is now only just over 10,000 behind. Both papers are adding fans at about 20% per month in the recent past. *
What’s really interesting is the approach adopted by each publication on Facebook. Their post types differ wildly in each case (according to www.quintly.com which does the spadework for me on this one). 95% of the Independent’s posts are photo based whereas 85% of the Irish Times posts are links but to the naked eye the pages look very similar, it’s just the approach that differs (table below shows the numbers between mid April and mid May)
*July 2014: I thought I'd update the graph below as The Irish Independent did finally manage to get the jump in The Irish Times.