February 20, 2017Published by: Bradley Tubb

The American president vs. the Swedish librarian

Donald Trump is causing a stir on Twitter again.

Nothing new there, but this time he had a most unexpected critic.

During an unscripted rally on Saturday, the US president referred to: "what's happening last night in Sweden", suggesting it was the latest country in Europe to be hit by a terrorist attack.

However, with no such incident having been reported in Sweden on Friday, people across the world were left suitably confused, bewildered and amused. Especially the Swedes.

It didn’t take long for social media to respond, with the hashtag #lastnightinSweden quickly trending on Twitter, and a tweet from the former Swedish prime minister, Carl Bildt, asking what the president had been smoking.

But, while politicians and journalists were fast lining up to rebuff Trump’s claims, one of the loudest (and most unexpected) voices came from a school librarian.

Swedish national Emma Johansen was in charge of the official @sweden Twitter account on Saturday night and found herself fielding hundreds of questions from concerned people across the world.

The reason? Sweden was the first country in the world to hand over its official Twitter account to its citizens, back in 2011. The project, Curators of Sweden, aims to present the country “through the mix of skills, experiences and opinions it actually consists of”, allowing volunteers to take the reigns for a week at a time.

Therefore, faced by hundreds of tweets from concerned people around the world, it fell to Emma to clear up the confusion caused by Trump’s speech.

Speaking to the Today programme, Emma admitted she was caught off-guard until someone sent her a YouTube clip of Trump’s speech and a link to the report on Fox News.

Having researched the facts (like any good librarian), Emma then spent Saturday evening and Sunday acting as the unofficial voice of Sweden, responding to tweets, rebuffing Trump’s comments and trying to clear up the confusion. At one point, following a request from one follower, Emma even gave the US president a librarian-style “shhhhhhhhh.”

And, since picking up the Twitter baton earlier today, new curator Max Karlsson has continued to defend his country’s record on crime and immigration, tweeting:

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 15.59.32 Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 16.00.09

So it seems Sweden - and its volunteer army - isn’t going down quietly.

Well done, Emma and Max. The community managers of the world salute you!

 

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