I have a new publication out in the Theorizing the Web special issue of the open access journal Interface. Check it out! I also recommend reading the rest of the issue, which is a must read for anyone who missed these talks at Theorizing the Web 2014.
The Curators of Sweden began in 2011 when two official governmental agencies, the Swedish Institute and VisitSweden, gave a Swedish citizen full and seemingly unfettered control of the official Twitter account of the Swedish government. Every week since then, a new Swedish citizen has been given access to write as @sweden, to curate Swedishness for the Internet. From this project, others have extracted the technology of #RotationCuration to develop similar projects, representing cities, states, countries and ethnic groups. However, in comparison to the Curators of Sweden, these #RotationCuration projects have been failures with small follower counts, minimal press coverage, and the inability to recruit curators.
I argue that the reduction of the Curators of Sweden to its technology, i.e. #RotationCuration, is a form of technological solutionism that impoverishes our understanding of the project and is ultimately the reason behind the failure of #RotationCuration as a solution for democratic engagement with branding and group identity. To this end, I will contextualize the Curators of Sweden into the history of Swedish Modernism and Swedish nation branding that shaped the creators’ choices in design, development, and platforms to demonstrate the complex milieu that has led to @sweden’s success.