On December 10, 2011, the first tweet was sent out from the @Sweden Twitter account, a nation-branding project financed by the Swedish government through the Swedish Institute and VisitSweden. Trumpeted by the media both in Sweden and internationally as an exercise in “transparent” and “democratic” nation-branding via the use of Twitter, the @Sweden account is “given” to a new Swede every week, and, supposedly, these curators are given free rein to tweet what they like, when they like. The use of a popular communication channel by the Swedish government—in this case, Twitter—provides an illuminating example of the carefully planned and managed promotion and nation-branding of Sweden, presented under the guise of a “transparent” and “democratic” selection and editorial processes. The @Sweden project will be addressed in light of “liberation technology” Diamond, L. 2010. Liberation technology. Journal of Democracy, 21(3): 69–83. and “technology discourse” Fisher, E. 2010. perspectives, within which a correlation between access to, and use of, technology and proactive change is postulated. These theoretical perspectives are particularly valuable when heeding Kaneva's (Kaneva, N. 2011. Nation branding: Toward an agenda for critical research). call for a more critical, communications-based understanding of nation-branding.
2013. Vol. 11, no 1, 30-46 p.