In what is being called the “world’s most democratic Twitter account,” Swedish citizens are given the opportunity to run the country’s PR for an entire week through @Sweden.
The project is dubbed Curators of Sweden, and in just about a month of existence has more than doubled the country’s official Twitter presence.
Here’s how it works. Every week, a new Swedish citizen take the wheel of @Sweden, the official Twitter account of the country’s tourism initiative. During that week, the average, everyday citizen gets to converse with other Twitter users and share their thoughts on the country. They also have the opportunity to share photos and tidbits about their favorite places to go and things to do where they live.
The idea with Curators of Sweden is that each curator will share both their own and relevant third party’s thoughts, stories, information and other content that is somehow linked to Sweden. The idea is that the curators, through their tweets, create interest and arouse curiosity for Sweden and the wide range the country has to offer. The expectation is that the curators will paint a picture of Sweden, different to that usually obtained through traditional media.
The project, an initiative of the National Board for the Promotion of Sweden (VisitSweden), is basically looking to market travel with the human element. Ask anyone who specializes in social media marketing – they will tell you that the more personal and human-like you can make your company’s social media accounts, the better. Sweden hopes that by giving people the chance to see the country through vastly different sets of eyes, they will inspire curiosity.
The initiative started on December 10th, and the first “Curator” was a writer and editor named Jack Werner. Since then there have been 5 other faces of Sweden, ranging from an advertising exec to an organic sheep farmer. The current voice of Sweden’s Twitter account in Hanna, who describes herself as an “average lesbian truck-driver.”
I promise you: this weekend I’ll make sure to take you on a trip round Uppsala, but right now it’s too darn dark to take decent photos.
As being a Swede, I know I’m supposed to like snow (“if you don’t like it, move whydontcha?”), but really, I don’t.
As you can see, the content of the account is pretty personal. The Swedes who run the account appear to face little to no censorship, as not all of the tweets coming from @Sweden praise the country and not all of the tweets would be considered “PC.”
Former tweeter Hasan Ramic tweeted that “the current Swedish welfare system is a bad joke compared to what it once was” and current tweeter Hanna had this to say regarding a certain archaic medical practice that’s still alive in her country:
@ElinDalstl I do. I think it’s a disgrace that a civilized country is still doing that. #myownopinion
So the @Sweden Twitter account feels like a mishmash of personal reflections, public declarations, and tourism promotion. And I guess that’s what the folks at VisitSweden want.