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Sweden Says So Long To Country's Shared Twitter Account

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And now a moment to say goodbye to an experiment in Sweden that's been running for seven years.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The Twitter account @sweden is controlled by a different Swedish citizen each week. And a few years ago, I actually reported on this from Sweden. So in memoriam, here's an excerpt of that story.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

SHAPIRO: When the official Twitter account for the nation of Sweden posts something about the small town of Sjobo, this is not what you expect.

MARGIT RICHERT: Sjobo is famed in all of Sweden for having 46 really daft neo-Nazis. If you don't mind Nazis, however, Sjobo is a really nice place.

SHAPIRO: Or a tweet saying that if Scandinavia were a dysfunctional family...

RICHERT: Sweden would be the anxious hipster brother, always buying organic coffee and just harassing everybody else.

SHAPIRO: Those were both actual tweets from @sweden.

RICHERT: I'm Margit Richert. I live outside of Malmo out in the countryside. I am a food writer and a chef, and I just handled the Twitter account for Sweden for a week.

SHAPIRO: Swedish marketing consultant Patrick Kampmann conceived of the project at the ad agency Volontaire. He says national branding is often superficial and cliched.

PATRICK KAMPMANN: Like a fake dating profile. This is just Twitter, and it's just a small thing, but it's proving our society's view on democracy.

SHAPIRO: He wanted to disprove the stereotype that Swedish people are perfect, superficial and a bit boring - Ikea-ish, in his words.

CORNISH: Now, after seven years of viral moments, political hiccups and insight into daily Swedish life, this social experiment will wrap up on September 30.

SHAPIRO: Others are carrying the baton on Twitter. @Ireland gives its Twitter account to a different Irish person each week. But if you ever miss these Swedish insights, the entire back catalogue, all 200,000 or so tweets, is archived online at curatorsofsweden.com.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOCEAN WORKER'S "TICKLE IT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.