Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sweden's Twitter experiment goes haywire

6 hrs.

Six months ago, Sweden set out to create "the world's most most democratic?Twitter account" by letting its citizens ? including a female truck driver, an organic sheep farmer and ?an advertising exec ? represent the country?by tweeting for?one week as the official voice of the @sweden?Twitter account. The popular?experiment veered?off course this week with the offensive comments shared?by?Sonja Abrahamsson, a 27-year-old?mother of two who is "@sweden" right now.

"Whats the fuzz with jews," Abrahamsson said on Twitter?Tuesday. "You can?t even see if a person is a jew, unless you see their penises, and even if you do, you can?t be sure!???

She continued to make it worse, as you can see from the Twitter feed shared here:

"I thought it was a good idea to ask the question when so many well educated people all over the world can answer," she said on Twitter. "But no. Bad idea." Ya think?

?By midday Tuesday, Sweden's tweeter for the week ? who on?this site?describes herself as "low educated ? had had enough of the negative reaction to her postings:

VisitSweden, the national tourism board that turned over control of the account to citizens, was contacted Tuesday by for comment, as was the Swedish Embassy in the U.S. If either responds, we'll update this post.

Patrick Kampmann, creative director at the ad agency that developed the Swedish Twitter?project, told the New York Times that none of Abrahamsson's posts have been taken down and he declined to comment on them.

"We never comment on any individual tweets," he told the newspaper in an email.

Tommy Sollen, VisitSweden's social media manager, did share some thoughts with the Wall Street Journal, saying that the Swedes frown on censorship. "You cannot look at any specific tweet, you can only judge a curator on the whole week???How else are you going to show the multi-faceted people that Sweden is composed of?"

The comments are in line with what he said in January, shortly after the program launched.

"In this age of Internet and transparency, if you want to be credible, you have to let go of control and empower the people," he said.?"We want to be seen as progressive, open, credible and truthful."

Check out Technolog, Gadgetbox, Digital Life and In-Game on?Facebook,?and on Twitter, follow Suzanne Choney.

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