YOU KNOW THE drill: tourist board recognizes potential in using travel bloggers and social media to promote their location, they scout out some of the best people to share their destination content, and everyone applauds a job well done. There are guidelines and regulations to follow, especially where the government is involved. When Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism wanted to reuse some of my blog content from my provincial travels this summer, I had to clean up the occasional swear word and curb my sarcasm.
I understood entirely. If you’ve got a huge reputation to keep up, there’s proper protocol. Everything’s all sanitized and wiped clean. Web etiquette 101.
But nope, not Sweden. Sweden is taking on one of the most challenging and potentially dangerous social media endeavours in history…and man, they are rocking it.
It’s called Curators of Sweden. “Every week, someone in Sweden is @Sweden: sole ruler of the world’s most democratic Twitter account. For seven days, he or she recommends things to do and places to see, sharing diverse opinions, and ideas along the way.”
Once the week is up, someone else takes over. That’s about as “ground level” as you can get, and Sweden seems to have a knack for pushing the boundaries of the online social world. Our very own Matador Network editor Lola Akinmade was a photoblogger for Sweden this year, imbued with the mission of revealing the country beyond the glossy images inside a travel magazine.
With Curators of Sweden, the country nails it. What better way to promote a place than by having its own citizens dive in and get involved? Unfiltered, raw material. This week’s curator is Hasan Ramic, whose bio reads: “I live in Hjulsta, which is a suburb to Stockholm, and I see more black faces around here than white ones. I’ve become so used to this, that I find myself fidgeting when I’m moving in the more segregated, all white, places in the Swedish capital. I don’t trust homogeneity. It strikes me as unnatural.”
On the other hand, this sort of campaign only works for countries which are already extremely tech-connected. And as Julie Schwietert points out, locals don’t always know best. It’s kinda like the old guidebook debacle of whether or not to hire writers locally: “The outsider will never know a place like the local, but the local will rarely understand what the outsider’s interested in.”
Yup, not your typical social campaign, but Hasan’s already got quite the convo started on Twitter. Follow along!