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This article was published on December 16, 2011

Sweden lets citizens take over its official Twitter account. This is either genius or insanity.

Sweden lets citizens take over its official Twitter account. This is either genius or insanity.

With Twitter now a well-established as part of the Internet landscape, it’s increasingly difficult to make a splash with a truly innovative marketing campaign using the service. The country of Sweden may have managed that with a new project that sees a different citizen take over its official Twitter account every week.

“No one owns the brand of Sweden more than its people. With this initiative we let them show their Sweden to the world,” says Thomas Brühl, the CEO of the country’s tourism agency VisitSweden.

Curators of Sweden is certainly an interesting idea; a variety of Swedes, including an editorial writer, a founder of an advertising agency with his own farm, a suburban writer, a priest, a teacher and a coffee-drinking trucker lesbian are all lined up to take over the account in coming weeks. The plan is that they will portray a diverse range of values, skills and ideas from across the country.

However, it’s a bold step to jump from what Twitter users may reasonably expect a tourism account to offer (news, offers and recommendations of places to visit) to what Sweden’s first ‘curator’ is offering. From his first tweet onwards…

…he’s tweeted about everything from touching personal news…

to humour that not everyone will appreciate.

Yes, it seems that the ‘curators’ won’t be restricted to tourism-friendly soundbites – it looks like they can pretty much say what they like. Not everyone’s happy with it though – it has already led one Swede living abroad in London to criticise her country’s approach as “a disgrace“.

It’s certainly going to be odd for casual visitors to stumble upon links to humorous photographs and jokes about the Pope on the official Swedish tourism Twitter account, but that aside, it certainly gets people talking about the country and, after all, the project’s aim is clear from its website:

“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.”

In that respect, it’s a success – even if it won’t please everyone.

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