Have you heard about the controversial @Sweden Twitter handle today? Too many times by now, no doubt, as there are posts going up everywhere about @Sweden’s ‘failed social media experiment,’ which has gone horribly, HORRIBLY wrong! [Insert gasp here.]
But has it gone wrong? Are the @Sweden account holders and thinkers behind this idea wringing their hands nervously and figuring out who to offer up as a scapegoat to be fired? We think not. And we’ll tell you why.
According the The New York Times, the idea to have a different citizen tweet from the @Sweden account is not a half-baked project thrown together all willy nilly as other posts may lead you to believe.
The @Swedens are nominated by others — people are not supposed to put their own name forward — and then selected by a committee of three, including Mr. Kampmann. The qualifications are that they have to be interesting, Twitter-literate and happy to post in English.
They are told not to do anything criminal, to label political opinions as their own and “not to make it sound like the entire Sweden feels that way,” said Cherin Awad, the Muslim lawyer, who was @Sweden from Feb. 27 to March 4.
Mr. Kampmann says he counsels the @Swedens to engage in “their normal Twitter behavior.”
“I tell them, ‘Please, do this with some dignity — remember that this is an official channel and there are a lot of people reading this, so don’t make a fool of yourself,’ ” he said. “It’s only a soft suggestion.”
Obviously a “soft suggestion” as some of the streams’ recent tweets attest:
My name is Sonja and I’m a 27-year old womanlike human being from northern Sweden. I grew up in a little itsy bitsy village called Latikberg, witch means cloudberry montain in native swedish (samiska?). All people there are relatives and they all own tractors. . . . When I was 19 years old I took my stuff (including my boyfriend) and moved to Gothenburg. Then I got pregnant two times in a row. Now I’m a single and low educated mother, but at least I don’t do drugs and prostitution. Instead I have a blog and I write things, and I also talk on national radio from time to time. I dont know what I want to do in the furure. Thinking about the future is not my speciality, apparently.
I’m happy to leave my ordinary Twitter account @hejsonja(witch means hellosonja) to tweet for @sweden. I’m gonna tweet about my thoughts and being me, about having children and living my life and what not.
So, there was a committee that reviewed Sonja’s Twitter profile and her blog, which is linked to her Twitter profile, before handing over the reins. Her blog, by the way, is exactly like what folks are seeing on the @Sweden stream, minus that shot of her sitting on the toilet, which you’ll only find on her blog. Or maybe she plans to share that next, who knows?
Will Sonja’s tweets offend a bunch of followers? Oh, certainly – they already have! But it seems like just as many followers see her for what she is – a whacky broad offering disjointed observations and someone who doesn’t worry too much about your opinion of her.
She’s @Sweden all right – and she’s also America, England, Spain, China and everywhere else. Do you honestly think every country doesn’t have someone like her? Of course, they do.
Should she be given the microphone to represent the country? Well, that’s the beauty of it. The site is clear in that IT is featuring citizens, not the other way around. And she is certainly attracting new followers. Once her week is over, whatever ‘stigma’ she has created will die down, but the attention she has generated? Marketing gold.
What do you think?
(Woman shouting in megaphone image from Shutterstock)