How Sweden’s risky Twitter experiment paid dividends

Not every brand hands over its tweeting responsibilities to citizen bloggers. Most would panic when controversy boiled over. But @Sweden likes the results.

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The social media stewards at most organizations clutch the keys to their Twitter feeds so tightly, you could never pry them loose.

But in Sweden, an entire nation—or, at least, two organizations that promote the country abroad—offers a series of ordinary citizens the chance to staff its @Sweden Twitter account.

With citizen “curators” tweeting about masturbation and picking fights with WikiLeaks, the project has stirred up all the controversy you’d expect. (And, yes. Hitler did come up. We’ll get to that.)

What emerged was a Twitter feed as complex as a nation and, with it, a public relations boon, says Patrick Kampmann, one of the co-founders of the agency Volontaire, which heads the project. The project generated a measured PR value of over $40 million, bringing Sweden to the attention of millions around the world.

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