27 September 2023

Over and out: Why Sweden closed its national Twitter account

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Benjamin Pineros* says after years of sparking multiple episodes of confusion, controversy and pure hilarity, Sweden has closed its national Twitter account.

After seven years of controversy, memes and almost 200,000 tweets, Sweden’s national Twitter account was closed on Sunday 30 September.


Because the experiment was over.

Seven years ago, a public Agency called the Swedish Institute was tasked with promoting the country’s culture around the world.

They cooked up an unusual initiative called Curators of Sweden, which resulted in the launch of @sweden, a Twitter account aimed at increasing interest in the nation’s philosophy and promoting what are, in their own words, “the values of democracy and openness that Sweden stands for”.

The plan was to give control of the account to a different Swede every week.

For seven days, each curator would be encouraged to tweet whatever they wanted, with very few limitations.

Their tweets would only be deleted if they violated any local laws, promoted a commercial brand or represented a security threat.

Over the course of seven years and some 197,000 tweets, curators started multiple episodes of confusion, controversy and most of all, pure hilarity.

The account even engaged in a hysterical banter war with the national account of Denmark in 2016.

The exchange took nothing for sacred, mocking everything from elks, Sweden’s alcohol and the Danish language to Swedish cuisine and Denmark’s fertility rates.

The account also made headlines when Donald Trump said in a 2017 rally that Sweden was “having problems like they never thought possible” after “taking in large numbers” of refugees.

That week’s curator, 22-year-old Max Karlsson, defended his country with a string of rebuttals, providing a counterpoint to the ex-reality TV star’s gratuitous bad press.

“Hey Don, this is @Sweden speaking! It’s nice of you to care, really, but don’t fall for the hype. Facts: We’re OK!” he wrote.

Now, Curators of Sweden has come to an end.

After amassing nearly 147,000 followers and earning multiple awards, the account was handed back to the Swedish Institute by the final curator on 30 September.

Since the start of the initiative, 356 curators have tweeted via @sweden.

The account’s last tweet featured a short farewell video with the first and final curator.

I think the initiative did accomplish its purpose in the end: after a few minutes of scrolling, you definitely can sense that the Scandinavian country and its people are truly amazing.

* Benjamin Piñeros is a filmmaker and tech writer. He tweets at @IamPineros. His website is estamosobservando.com.

This article first appeared at www.techly.com.au.

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