Social Media Hit or Miss: Sweden’s Twitter Democracy
In their “Curators of Sweden” program, the Swedish tourism board launched the “world’s most democratic Twitter account,” @sweden. Each week, a new Swedish citizen takes control over the account and can tweet as they’d like. While this lack of moderation is admirable, there was a bit of a misstep this week when the current moderator, Sonja, tweeted a question out to the public that sparked quite a bit of news coverage and controversy. I won’t re-post it here, but it’s safe to say that it wasn’t the smartest thing to ask publicly. But did they shut down the account or ask Sonja to stop? Nope. From TIME, “Tommy Sollén, Social Media Manager at VisitSweden, told the Wall Street Journal, that ‘It’s very important for us to let everyone take a unique viewpoint…Some of [the @sweden curators] have been talking about music, some of them have been talking about food…Sonja is more focused on her own brand of humor and asking probing questions.’”
This week, we here at the Zócalo Group think this is both a Hit and a Miss.
- Don’t shut down without real thought/strategy: When something doesn’t go as planned in social media, we tend to have a knee-jerk reaction and want to delete it or shut the program down right away. What the country of Sweden has shown us is that yes, mistakes happen, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. (Does anyone know that phrase besides me and my mother?) Sweden is continuing with their Twitter program, recognizing the slip-up, but continuing the show that Sweden is made up of a diverse group of citizens that are worthy of showing off their home country.
- Everyone needs a bit of moderation: While the overarching “democratic” way to run the campaign is admirable, brands can potentially steer clear of these sorts of mishaps with simple guidelines for posting. No one’s in favor of limiting anyone’s creativity or opinions, but some “rules of the road” would alleviate any miscommunication.