Your country on Twitter: should Scotland be next? [guest blog post by @equatoragency]

When marketing a country as a tourist destination online you might expect to see a neat and tidy display of the crème de la crème of the location’s scenery and amenities – striving to gain the attention of travellers and boost the area’s economy with an influx of tourists. But with the popular @Sweden account taking an altogether different route; it seems Twitter can offer the world a fascinating (and interactive) reflection of a country and its people…

If you haven’t stumbled across it yet, the Swedish government’s tourism authorities pass the @Sweden account onto a different Swedish citizen each week – with no set rules evident except a plea to the authors asking them to write with dignity – all in the name of marketing the country to the world through its people.

And it’s generating great interest, amassing over 67,714 followers to date – with users all over the world joining discussion on Swedish culture and attitudes in between tweets on the current user’s lunch or dinner. We think the concept is genius…and it certainly demonstrates that there’s ‘no such thing as a typical Swede’. Also on the account’s list of fans are the creators of  the @Netherlanders account which launched in July to do a similar thing with Dutch Twitter users – and although this account operates on an unofficial basis, it’s an equally interesting read.

Of course, this format isn’t without its complications, the eyes of the world are on Sweden – and in June the @Sweden account caused offence when one Swede took to the Twitter platform discussing issues of race. But despite this, the chance to interact with a cross section of lives, viewpoints (and even day to day routines) of the real inhabitants of a country on a global platform is a unique and fascinating opportunity which just wouldn’t exist without Twitter. Many of us spend much of our travels discretely trying to work out ‘where the locals go’ – so why not login and ask them on Twitter beforehand, and get a stereo-type busting insight into how they think at the same time?

With Social Media Week Glasgow bringing to the forefront just a small sample of the extensive creativity and knowledge of the people in this city alone – and with plenty of our own stereotypes to dispel – Twitter could help flag up the best of Scottish personality and talent. NeverSeconds blogger Martha Payne is a shining example of an interesting Scottish face which could have gone unknown without social media, so isn’t it time we started the introducing world to more Scots?

Equator is a digitally-led integrated marketing agency, providing end-to-end social media campaigns and strategy.

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