The Sweden Project

I read a little while back that Sweden had a twitter account, @sweden , and being as liberal as they are, they started to allow citizens to take over the account for a week and tweet what the hell they liked. Those that had a go were doing great until one week, it all went toes up. Could Telford triumph where Sweden didn’t? May 2013 is the month where we find out.

A local radio presenter (and lots of other things too) Jim Hawkins @jimallthetime has a penchant for good news stories, which he promotes with a hashtag #HOTH (hats off to humanity) which buoyed up my confidence and I’m always thinking the best of people, so I opened up the @telfordlive twitter account to 6 people, some of which I’ve had no prior contact with, or tweeted with, on Monday 6th of May.

Is it high risk? We’ll I’m be measuring the success by the number of followers. Currently at 4130 nearly all from Telford. I’m not so bothered about follower numbers but this is a measure of how successful this project will be, along with comments from from them, which I’ll share here too. These contributors have been given access via Grouptweet, which means that even if one goes rogue, the password and email address is safe, but hopefully I won’t have to pull the rug. It also means that they can tweet completely anonymously, just like I try to. If you want the truth, this can be an excellent way to get to it. All inhibitions removed. One other key difference to the Sweden thing is that all contributors have access at all times, including me, so we can all chip in. Lets see how this pans out.

I’ll log some of the highlights here.

Day 1: May 6th

With a bit of gusto one tweeter dives right in with a sexual question. Followers up by 5. After some startling revelations, the subject moved on to Super Saturday & Kids International. Everyone loves a bit of nostalgia!

Also , some great interaction on customer service and how good or bad experiences affect your shopping behaviour.

Day 2: May 7th

‘Hows your commute’ was the question. In an instant the trains from Telford station crapped out and everyones day got worse. The power of Twitter eh?

This evening we attracted some interesting comments as our intrepid contributors got to grips with the system. One follower suggested that there were too many RTs but early days still. No one gone rogue yet! Followers at 4134 so dropped a follower, but that’s OK, natural wastage!

22:44 Update: I thought there were a lot of pointless RTs. So started digging in the settings & found a filter on an alternative group tweeting app I had tried previously that was generating RTs automatically. Now that box is unticked and the Sweden experiment is doing Telford proud!

Day 3 : May 8th

With the lack of RTs the day got off to a good start, and got better and better. It’s funny how I feel that while I do own & manage everything Telford Live does, I’m really just looking after it. Giving access to the twitter account to 6 people, only two of which I have met and one of those was in a shop once, seems be be both right and wrong. I’ve resisted the urge to edit or moderate any of the tweets even when they go against anything I would have considered doing. I have been impressed, annoyed, laughed and cringed. And I like it. Follower count 4138.

Day 4 : May 9th

Quiet start. A few local interest RTs, which I would have done too. Just noticed an early morning tweet asking for local musicians Soundcoud names to share. Why didn’t I think of that?!

Day 5 : May 10th

This is interesting. No mayhem, no drama and the volunteers are settling in nicely. I’ve also been chipping to a little more this evening, but that’s it. My hand is off the tiller and the next few days they are on their own. Telford, you continue to amaze and impress, educate and entertain.

The system that we’re using is called grouptweet. It’s designed for large companies to share the burden of a single customer service twitter account, without having to hand over a password or look at DMs, so if you have tipped me off about something, don’t worry!

Followers at 4150.

Day 9 : May 14th

Pace slowed somewhat as the comment from contributor suggests. Once the initial topics that had been burning in the contributors fingers were delivered to an eager audience, the second album becomes as tough as legend dictates.

I couldn’t help myself get involved with the button badge pure gold loft find today, but have remained hands off for a few days. Most interesting of all, followers up to 4170. So you like fewer tweets eh?

Day 10 : May 15th

Followers at 4182.

A tweet went out today that looked very much like an advert. Now I don’t mind promoting businesses, it usually starts with a tweet like ‘Anyone fix washing machines in Telford’ or ‘Can Anyone recommend a restaurant for a special occasion’ but this was a request to RT and ‘please use’ this business. A blatant advert, the only one so far mind you. I’m not complaining, and I could have deleted the tweet, but part of the Sweden Project for me is to test and challenge my preconceptions about what content people like.

I run a business in Telford. If I see a request for a service or product I can help with, I will never suggest that I can help. I like to keep my business & this twitter account separate, for many reasons, one of which is so that my customers won’t ask for promotional tweets. Do you have strong views on promotional tweets?

11 thoughts on “The Sweden Project

  • May 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    It’s a great idea. As one of the guest tweeters, I have noticed a lot more love for Telford than expected. It’s been fun trying to work out who is tweeting and also knowing that others don’t know it’s me tweeting!

    Must admit that I have had to show a little more civic responsibility when I’ve been tweeting as Telford live. Maybe this is because of my profession or just knowing the difference between right and wrong, and having aa appropriate laugh.

    Cheers for including me.


  • May 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I have been in stitches at some of the posts. Excellent. I especially liked the risqué question of last night. Injecting a bit of humour into things. I assume the previous comments from A are in ref to that? I for one hope that the humour continues and the bore off commuting tweets decline.

  • May 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Point taken I wont do commute tweets in the morning, I’ll ask about hang over cures instead.

    • May 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      I wouldn’t take it to heart. I like the commute stuff, and the pic with the train guy praying by the train was priceless. You are doing a great job!

  • May 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Oh certainly not taking it to heart, I’m just worried I appear to have tweet powers of doom! My tweets can stop trains!!!

  • May 7, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Ah. Erm… inappropriate unable to determine between right and wrong here. Lol. I also loved the commuting stuff and pretty much everything else posted. It’s all a bit of fun surely? It’s a pleasure to be able to contribute. We all have different tastes and interests and sense of humour and I hope it all goes swimmingly. Thank you for the opportunity.

  • May 8, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Unfollowed due to the skol chav offensive nonsense posted yesterday.

    • May 8, 2013 at 7:05 am

      I’ve tweeted worse than that! Thanks for your comment though, appreciated.

      • May 8, 2013 at 7:09 am

        Hahaha. Don’t upset the chavs… They’ll revolt en masse.

  • May 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I’ve followed this account for some time and I can honestly say that I haven’t laughed as much as I have the last couple of days. Sometimes laughing at but mostly laughing with. Starting with the sex outside question. (Whoever that is, is a brave person and I would like to give them a job. I need those kind of balls in my office!) The Fergie comment today was also inspired and I heard several of my staff giggling over this, the chav uniform made me laugh, not to mention the hilarious lighthearted nonsense about rugby players. Keep up the good work. This will be an interesting fortnight.

  • May 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Looks like after a flurry of excitement, the activity from the guest tweeters has dwindled somewhat.

    I must admit that I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find topics to tweet about, without it always being a question. I don’t think I fully appreciated how hard it would be to contribute to, never mind run, an account of this nature. so well done to the original Telford Live, for being so on the ball and for continually coming up with interesting tweets.



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