I usually don’t blog in English, but I do today in the hopes VisitSweden will see this and act on it.
Following the highly controversial tweets by 27-year old Sonja Abrahamsson this week on their official @Sweden account, VisitSweden has been handed a gift by the gods of PR themselves: international comedy star and tv-host Steven Colbert of the Colbert Report has offered to take over the Twitter account when it changes to a different person next week as part of VisitSweden’s ongoing experiment “Curators of Sweden”!
VisitSweden writes that the account can only be managed by Swedish citizens but that “in the future” other nationals may be guest tweeters as well. And it is this idea that Steven Colbert has seized on. Following last night’s program, he has launched a campaign to rally support for his idea, urging followers and fans to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to tweet about it using the hashtag #artificialSwedener are currently doing.
Sad to say, I don’t think VisitSweden is going to accept Steven Colbert’s offer, but they should. Up until now, the six months old shared Twitter account’s worst offense has been tales of masturbation, but the comments by Sonja about jews and more have genuinely offended and shocked a lot of people.
VisitSweden is faced with either a) declaring that the project is a failure and apologizing or b) defending their curators’ freedom of speech and idea of the social experiment and suffer the condemnation and negative reactions that follow. Naturally, a) means a loss of face and embarrasment. But if VisitSweden choses the latter, who knows what future curators might tweet to ‘stir things up’ and have some fun at Sweden’s expence?
Instead, VisitSweden could accept Colbert’s offer and demonstrate that they have a sense of humour and can acknowledge that perhaps this was a bit too much. It is a sort of a non-apology apology. On top of that, having Steven Colbert as your ambassador for a full week is a PR scoop that money can’t buy. Not only would the number of followers of @Sweden explode, which will benefit VisitSweden afterwards, but the stunt is also sure to generate tons of other earned media as the story spreads like wildfire.
So, I am going to e-mail VisitSweden and tweet about this and hope that miracles actually do happen.