Sweden’s Twitter Experiment – Were they onto something?

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Sweden’s Twitter Experiment – Were they onto something?

The Basics of Curators of Sweden:

In 2011, this project, Curators of Sweden, began. It involved Sweden handing over the tweeting power of its official Twitter account (@sweden) to a new citizen each week, allowing these curators to post almost anything they wish. The goal of this was to use the Twitter account to represent the country by showing the vast experiences, opinions, skills, and activities of the Swedish people. They Swedish Institute and Visit Sweden designed the campaign with the idea to display Sweden to the world in an open and transparent way.

How It Works and What Happened:

One Swede is chosen every week by a committee. And this curator is given the opportunity to choose what subject or cause they would like to present to the world as a representative of Sweden. They were allowed to post whatever content they wanted as long as it (1) did not violate Swedish law, (2) was not a promotion of commercial brands, and (3) did not pose a threat of security. Also, they were asked to be respectful in their content and not to post anything from a racist, sexist, or homophobic perspective. But, for the most part, the tweets they posted were straight from the minds of real Swedish people, and they represented Sweden as such. As the New York Times puts it: “The messages, largely in English, have ranged from didactic to deeply personal, polite to racy. Along the way, @sweden has provoked heads of state, stirred controversy, got laughs, earned 147,000 followers and even drew some imitators.”

Why Twitter:

The Curators of Sweden website answers this question directly by saying: “Twitter as a medium makes it easy to reach the target audience in real time, with quick updates and shared content. Anyone can follow @sweden, and the network’s global reach means that the message can be received all over the world. Twitter is also very useful for engaging followers in a dialogue.”

My Opinion:

While this concept of allowing random citizens to be in control of the content of a whole country’s social media account might be somewhat terrifying, I really do believe that this was a great way for the country to demonstrate honestly who they are and what their country is like. I think that this idea is really wonderful because it allows the actual people of the Sweden to be the people who choose what people will see and know about their country. It opens up the opportunity for the Swedish to be real and honest about what is happening and what the opinions are in the country without risk of violating any laws. They were able to use a social media website to promote their country while also being open and transparent about what the country and their people represent. It really speaks to the power of social media, specifically Twitter, to influence how people view your person or entity. It would be really interesting to see how this would work in other countries and if it would be unifying or divisive for the people of that country.

 

References:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/16/world/europe/sweden-twitter-account.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Ftechnology&action=click&contentCollection=technology&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

 

http://curatorsofsweden.com/about/

 


2 Comments

Vallari Bhave

Vallari Bhave

September 17, 2018at 7:19 pm

This is such an interesting article! Though last I heard @sweden was shut down? But to your point, this experiment was so fascinating. It’s impossible to stereotype all the people of a country, and this Twitter account allowed so many individual voices to shine through. It really promoted Sweden to a wider world view.

Maya Cribbs

Maya Cribbs

September 17, 2018at 8:07 pm

I think this was a super cool concept! This really makes Sweden come across as unique and authentic from not only the eyes of other countries, but from Swedish citizens too. I know that I would be really proud if the US were doing something like this and would actively try to be a part of it. Honestly this would be really awesome if every country were to have this kind of Twitter account.

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