KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Everybody seems to have a Twitter account these days; companies, celebrities, the average Joe down the corridor and even prime ministers. But is it possible for a country to have a Twitter account?
Six months ago, the government of Sweden embarked on just such an ambitious project. @sweden is helmed by a different Swedish citizen each week and is part of the country's tourism promotion plan. The idea is clever, it gives the world a weekly snapshot of who and what the people of Sweden are really like.
Thomas Bruhl, CEO of VisitSweden said, “No one owns the brand of Sweden more than its people. With this initiative we let them show their Sweden to the world.”
What is even remarkable for a government-sponsored project is the weekly curators are free to tweet whatever they like.
And this was what inspired Stevie Chan (@YouTiup) to start @twt_malaysia.
“It is my hope that something I share on Twitter will spark something in someone, the same way someone has sparked something in me, and changed the course of my life,” he said.
Just three days old, it has already attracted 616 followers and its first curator Saif Mamat (@smamat) has already sent out 639 tweets most of which centred around food!
“It is more about daily life. For example, Saif is middle-class, Western educated and living in Kelantan. Next, we can have someone in Perlis. Our point is to cut across all demographics. We want it in Bahasa Malaysia too,” said @YouTiup, a Malaysian film-maker.
So how did @smamat get the honour of being the one to kick off @twt_malaysia? “Sometime last week, @YouTiup asked if I was interested to be the curator for @twt_malaysia. Another Twitter friend of mine @1Obefiend also encouraged me to try it and I wanted to help them out. I didn't think I would be the first curator,” he said in a telephone interview.
A third party Twitter analytics software showed that the top word on the account is “honey.”
“Yesterday we were talking about honey as a substitute for sugar. I stopped having kopi tarik and teh tarik because of the condensed milk and I take fresh milk instead,” @smamat explained.
Can Malaysians working and studying abroad be curators as well? @YouTiup says any Malaysian can participate but the only condition is they must stay away from partisan politics.
It will be interesting to see the different faces of Malaysia through this project... if you want to be more than just a follower of @twt_malaysia, just tweet @YouTiup to see if you can be the next curator.