Sweden’s forward-thinking Twitter strategy stirs controversy
Having the world's "most democratic Twitter account" sounds like a great social media marketing campaign, but VisitSweden might be regretting the idea after controversial statements were posted on the countries national account this week.
Sonja, a 27-year old who claims to be from the town of Gothenburg, was the latest to be chosen under the scheme, which sees a new Swedish citizen chosen every week to operate the @Sweden Twitter name.
"For seven days, he or she recommends things to do and places to see, sharing diverse opinions, and ideas along the way," reads the Curators of Sweden webpage.
"After that, someone else does the same – but differently. Follow all nine million of us. Welcome to Sweden."
The idea has been running fairly smoothly since December, but Sonja has stirred up some controversy with a range of posts that have swung from borderline anti-Semitic to outright bizarre.
It's questionable just how legitimate Sonja is, her profile boasts "now I’m a single and low educated mother, but at least I don’t do drugs and prostitution." Whether she's a fictional character, a real person, or just someone trying to get attention is unclear.
Regardless, Twitter has been lit up with feedback over the incident, drawing a range of opinions and generating a lot of media attention.
"If you are not following @Sweden then you are missing the most wonderful train crash," Tweeted user Zombiesitcom.
"If there is anything to be learned from the @Sweden experiment, it is that there is no such thing as a typical Swede," said Teresa Potocka
Magnus Betner was more positive about the idea: "So @Sweden got over 10k new followers yesterday and will soon give account to somebody else. Brilliant marketing. But no idea for what…"
Despite the mixed public reaction, VisitSweden have declared that they will not back down, and that they are not planning on changing their policies to prevent something like this happening again.
Twitter campaigns can be a great way of reaching your client base directly, but it's worth taking care to make sure the person behind that twitter account is reliable and trustworthy. Those tweets are under your company name after all!
Posted by Zak Wash