Imagine if the United States had a national Twitter handle, one which represented the country to the outside world. Would you trust it in the hands of ordinary Americans?
That was exactly the social experiment launched by Sweden six months ago, when it decided to turn over the handle to everyday Swedes for a week at a time.
As The New York Times profile published on Sunday noted, "If there is anything to be learned from the @Sweden experiment, a government initiative that entrusts the country’s Twitter account to a new citizen every seven days, it is that there is no such thing as a typical Swede."
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However, the current curator of the @Sweden Twitter feed, 27-year-old Sonja Abrahamsson, had rather unfortunate timing, as The Atlantic noted, when she decided to make Hitler jokes and ask uncomfortable questions about Jews during her week-long tenure.
Slate noted that The Times article had raised the Sweden account's profile, attracting around 5,000 new followers in the two days since it was featured.
But yesterday, Abrahamsson began tweeting:
Which was followed today by:
When The Wall Street Journal contacted those behind the Twitter strategy, they declined to comment on specific tweets but seemed inclined to letting Abrahamsson continue.
"It’s very important for us to let everyone take a unique viewpoint," Tommy Sollen, Social Media Manager at Visit Sweden, told The Journal. "Every one of our curators is there with a different perspective."
Slate noted that while the tweets do not illustrate that Abrahamsson is an anti-Semite, they come from a place of "profound ignorance."
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The Times article noted that one of the first curators of the @Sweden account who gained a lot of followers talked about masturbation.
Patrick Kampmann, the creative director of Volontaire, the advertising agency behind the concept, told The Times, "I tell them, ‘Please, do this with some dignity — remember that this is an official channel and there are a lot of people reading this, so don’t make a fool of yourself.’" He added, "It's only a soft suggestion."