What happens when you turn the official Twitter account for an entire country over to regular Tweeps? Apparently, some really entertaining chatter.
When Sweden's tourism office decided to hand over its official Twitter account to regular citizens last year, it was in an attempt to democratize the marketing -- and selling -- of the country, and engage the Twittersphere and fellow Swedes.
A year later, the strategy has paid off handsomely, with the account growing from 8,000 followers at the beginning of the project to more than 66,500 followers, reports trade travel site Skift, while tweets are now retweeted an average of 4.5 times.
That's because every week, a fresh new voice brings his or her own take of Sweden to the Twittersphere in place of strictly controlled PR flack. And oftentimes, the @Sweden avatars are a cast of interesting characters with interesting things to say.
This week, for instance, @Sweden has been helmed by Jeppe Larsen, a 29-year-old eco-Swede who lives in Stockholm with his wife and three children. An environmental entrepreneur, he and his wife run a kids' clothing label, Bonkeli, that uses vintage and organic fabrics and preaches a "circular economy" -- or in other words, cradle-to-cradle recycling.
This week, followers are hearing his views about electric boats and cargo bikes that can tow kids and groceries in cargo baskets fitted to the bike.
And it seems other tourism boards are taking notice.
This summer, for instance, the Paris tourist board handed over the reins of its official French-language Twitter account to local city bloggers like @upupuptravel and @wanderingcity who showed followers their favorite parts of the city.