At Sweden.se, we analyze our work on the web on a regular basis — what seems to work (= reaches our target group) versus what doesn’t (for example, pages that get few visitors or few page views). At the beginning of every year, this process is more intense, as we look at the Sweden.se statistics for last year and, partly based on that, plan the year ahead — what to do and how to do it.
Sometimes it’s a frustrating job. We’ve noticed, for example, that a lot of the editorial content we published on Sweden.se during 2010 didn’t do at all as well as we thought it would. Why? Well, to be honest, we’re clueless. Increasing competition on the web? Not enough search engine optimization on the site? Or simply the wrong choice of topics?
On a happy note, our films seem to attract a fair number of viewers, which is really pleasing since we launched our film player, Watch, in 2010. And many people also found us on our Follow Sweden section (below, right) on The Local, Sweden’s news in English.
The best thing for us would be if you could just tell us what you’d like to know about Sweden. More hard facts? More culture? More on how to move to Sweden? Do you like it when we divide the year into themes (like our current fashion theme)? Why not post a comment with your opinion below?
Another recurring question for the Sweden.se staff is what we can do, as in what we’re allowed to do as representatives of a Swedish public agency, the Swedish Institute. We can’t allow our content to be too controversial. Politics is strictly off-limits, for example, and foreign politics even more so.
This is a problem that especially concerns this staff blog. Our disclaimer says: “This blog is an outlet of individual opinion, and what is said here does not necessarily represent the views of the Swedish Institute.” — but that doesn’t entitle us to write whatever we like. No matter how personal we want to be in our tonality and content, the problem is that in this context we still act as representatives of the Swedish state. So we are told. And maybe that’s right.
As much as Sweden loves and promotes free speech, this blog may not be the right forum for content of a too sensitive nature. One real borderline case was my own post from the day after the election in September 2010. It passed, but only just. Sometimes edits have to be made. Sometimes posts are simply not published.
It’s just that I have a feeling that our readers are fairly critical and would actually like to be served some controversial opinions about Sweden every now and then rather than just being fed all the nice facts about our nice country. Don’t get me wrong — state-employed or not, I love Sweden, but that doesn’t mean that everything about the country is hunky dory. That would be weird. That’s why I think allowing some negative sides of Sweden to show just increases our credibility.
But that’s really for you to say. Please make your voices heard below, give us some guidance on what you’d like to see on Sweden.se and in this blog during 2011.