@sweden Twitter Account Control – Disaster Or Publicity Stunt?

An intriguing social media experiment has taken a turn for the obscure in Europe. VisitSweden – Sweden’s official website for tourism and travel – has been handing over control of its Twitter account (@sweden) to a different citizen each week and things had been going well so far.

Thomas Brühl, CEO of VisitSweden, told Mashable “No one owns the brand of Sweden more than its people. With this initiative we let them show their Sweden to the world.” However, one user may have tarnished the VisitSweden Twitter account‘s reputation with her updates.

Some of the tweets are quite colourful in their content and use of language, so we won’t reproduce them here. However if you’d like to read them, Mashable have storifed the updates in this article: Sweden Twitter Experiment Goes Painfully Awry.

Many of the reader comments (on the article) were in support of the fact that this user was not obliged to tow any sort of party line and view it as a triumph for freedom of speech. One user said: “I would like to see more like the current tweeter. The whole point is to show the world what completely different people from Sweden have to say, not project a sterile and “PC” view of the country.”

For my part, this individual’s tweets haven’t put me off visiting Sweden. Anywhere you go in the world there will be people who have differing opinions. To judge a nation of around 10 million people on one person’s 140 character updates would be a little rash, and if anything, I’d imagine that the VisitSweden site has experience a significant spike in traffic over the last week. Which begs the question… is this a publicity stunt?