“Sweden” – the world’s most democratic Twitter account

What would you do if you were able to tweet on behalf of an entire country for a week? Would you recommend things to do and places to see, share opinions and ideas? Or would you use foul language, post pictures of fruit that look like genitals and post links to your own site? The former is at least the idea that one person should do for a week for Sweden’s official Twitter account @sweden, “the world’s most democratic Twitter account”.

The project Curators of Sweden is an initiative of the Swedish institute and VisitSweden. The idea  is that:

“…each curator will share both their own and relevant third party’s thoughts, stories, information and other content that is somehow linked to Sweden. The idea is that the curators, through their tweets, create interest and arouse curiosity for Sweden and the wide range the country has to offer. The expectation is that the curators will paint a picture of Sweden, different to that usually obtained through traditional media.”

Now, what a brilliant idea to turn to the crowd and let ordinary Swedes share their views on Sweden. The only problem with letting go of control is that, well, you have little control. You see, there is one thing I’m not particulary impressed with in this campaign so far, and that is the actual tweeting.

The whole purpose of this activity is that the tweets should be linked to Sweden and create interest in Sweden. But I have a hard time seeing that tweets containing foul language, mentions of dreams of racist jokes or jokes about planning terrorist attacks on Twitter are what the Swedish Institute had in mind.




Or images of fruit that look like…

@sweden instagram

Then I also find it a bit unprofessional to use this opportunity to repeatedly link to your own website (in this case the news site Ajour.se).



@sweden ajour.se

My intention is not to pick on this tweeter. I’m not offended and I can see the humour in most of this. I also understand you must have a high tolerance for the type of content or it would run the risk of being boring. And there are plenty of links that have a Swedish connection (although many don’t). But there’s a time and place for everything, and as an observer, this is not the kind of content that I appreciate being posted on the @sweden Twitter account.

This leads me to question if the “curators of Sweden” were given any rules or guidelines and if so, what the account owners are doing to make sure these guidelines are followed. At least they articulate, in the disclaimer, that tweets may be removed, which indicates some sort of monitoring and rules.

“Si/VisitSweden do not endorse any Curator Submission or any opinion, recommendation, or advice expressed therein, and Si/VisitSweden expressly disclaims any and all liability in connection with Curator Submissions.

Si/VisitSweden reserves the right to remove Curator Submissions without prior notice.”

I really like the idea with Curators of Sweden and I hope it picks up some pace. Right now, I’m just underwhelmed.

Finnair launches Angry Birds Asian Challenge

Finnair is taking the popular game Angry Birds to a completely new level: 10,000 metres! The Finnish airline has prepared a fully customised Finnair Airbus A340 and is inviting Angry Birds fans to join a flight to Singapore while competing in the first Angry Birds Asian Challenge played in the air.angry birds plane

To become one of the participants, you need to fill in an application at finnair.com and describe why you are one of the Angry Birds’ most dedicated fans. Then collect as many Facebook likes as you can and you may be one of the five fans (most “liked”) to board the flight to Singapore. In addition 2-3 favourites selected by a jury will be awarded flight tickets to Singapore. During the flight, the participants will compete against each other on games consoles that have been specially programmed for this event. The winner of the competition will become the proud holder of the very first Angry Birds Asian Challenge title.

Oh, and there will be a live Angry Bird on the plane too…

Hat tip to Alexander.

Social media used to identify rioters in Vancouver

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but if I was considering doing something illegal, I’d probably not choose a situation where there were thousands of cameras around. Then again, I’ve never been in a riot. As you’ve probably already heard, there were riots in Vancouver this week after the city’s hockey team Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup title to the Boston Bruins. All over the town, people were taking photos and videos of rioters looting and smashing cars. With a quick search for “Vancouver riots” we can find more than 1,000 videos on YouTube and close to 4,000 photos on Flickr from last week.

Conclusion: social media is a gold mine for those who wish to identify the rioters. And those are for example the Vancouver Police Departement and citizens that want to name and shame to looters. On Facebook, there are several groups and pages with titles like “Vancouver 2011 Rioters Public Humiliation Page” and “Help vancouver: post pics and video of rioters and looters”. Some of them claim to have identified individuals in the photos and reveal it in photos like the one below.

Vancouver riots

While taking the law into your own hands is not at all recommended, there are other ways to help. VPD, the Vancouver Police Departement uses social media to encourage citizens to help identify suspects in the riots. On the VPD Facebook page, the police have posted instructions for how to submit YouTube videos to VPD. And apparently the response from the public has been very positive:

“The response from the public wanting to help the police identify the individuals involved in criminal activity that occurred after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the night of June 15, 2011 has been tremendous”, VPD says in a statement.

VPD is also actively using Flickr and YouTube to communicate, and the VPD Twitter account is used to help solve crime.

Finally, I love this photo that was posted on the VPD Facebook page. The VPD had parked a car in Greenville, to help with the clean up effort. When the policemen returned, the car was covered in post it notes with thank you messages. More photos here.

vpd police car

Flickr Photo by BrittneyBush.


Fans on a plane – KLM paints Facebook fans on a real plane

Fans on a plane - KLM Tile Yourself Do you remember how Porsche tagged one of their cars with the names of each one of their one million fans on Facebook? Well, the airline KLM is pulling a similar stunt now and I love it. With the Facebook application Tile Yourself (http://apps.facebook.com/tileyourself/) you can create a digital tile in the style of traditional Dutch Delft wall tiles by uploading a photo of yourself or any other image. You can also add a quote to the tile.

Some of these tiles are then chosen and will be painted on a real KLM plane.

Here’s my contribution (“Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana” is a quote by Groucho Marx).

A YouTube video explains the concept further:

Via Nick Burcher.


H&M reaches 200,000 followers on Twitter with glocal strategy

The Swedish clothing retailer H&M reached 100,000 followers on Twitter this week, which is a first for a Swedish company. But that is just for its main account @hm. In fact, H&M is followed by twice as many, if you combine the number of users that follow the company’s 28 Twitter accounts: in total 201,000.

HM graph Twitter

It is very interesting to study H&M’s strategy, to complement a global account with accounts for local markets and that they are branded in a similar fashion (@hm plus country). The company today has one global account with 101,000 followers (@hm), one old general news account that is not used any longer (@HM_News) and 26 geographic accounts (25 countries and one province – Quebec in Canada). To see a full list of accounts, see this list of H&M on Twitter.

Top ten H&M accounts (by number of followers):

  1. @hm – 101,000
  2. @hmusa – 34,500
  3. @hmdeutschland – 11,400
  4. @hmunitedkingdom – 10,800
  5. @hmcanada – 9,800
  6. @hmespana – 7,200
  7. @hmjapan – 5,000
  8. @HM_News (no longer in use) – 4,800
  9. @hmfrance – 2,700
  10. @hmsouthkorea – 2,600

If we compare the countries were H&M has stores and rank them by sales (for stats, see this pdf) we see that Germany, France, USA and the UK are the company’s biggest markets (left column below). But the company has most followers in USA, Germany, UK and Canada (right column below). Switzerland is another top market but H&M does not have a specific Swiss Twitter account yet (Update: there is a Swiss account at @hmsuisse, but it is not yet active). South Korea is one of H&M’s smallest markets, but that local account has already attracted 2,600 followers.

H&M rank countries by sales vs by Twitter followers

With this strategy H&M is able to reach more than 200,000 people on Twitter, many of them in their local language. All country accounts are in local language except the accounts from the Middle East and Turkey. Update: @hmturkyie is in fact in Turkish.