Thanks to the IKEA-sponsored series Easy to Assemble, Sweden has gotten its fair share of attention in the online video world. But, because of a new social media strategy, the Scandinavian nation is poised to move from being the butt of meatball-related jokes.
Last year, the country turned its official twitter feed (@Sweden) over to the people, choosing a different ‘curator’ each week who was told tweet whatever they wanted on behalf of the whole country. Adam, an organic sheep farmer, threatened to spam the world with pictures of cute baby sheep, while Hanna, a self-described “average lesbian truck driver” commented on topics as varied as Sigourney Weaver’s panties and gender identity laws. Recently, a librarian named Par is at the helm, relaying his snowboarding and parenting adventures.
Sweden’s YouTube channel is similarly democratic. In addition to the bland tourist come-ons most countries post on their official pages, Sweden has created playlists of videos uploaded by Swedes that are funny, controversial and downright bizarre.
One, called “Funny Sweden” is almost entirely devoted to the Muppet character Swedish Chef. Another features an uncensored series of person-on-the-street interviews with regular Swedes, who are just as likely to take their country to task as praise it. Presented without commentary is the bizzaro video diary of a moose on vacation in the Netherlands, where he rides in a giant wooden shoe. My favorite series is What is Love? which features “average Swedes” discussing their love lives. Trust me, these videos are the perfect cure for a long, lonely winter.
So, is that a meatball in your pocket, or are you just really excited about web democracy?