I was an early adopter of Twitter, and have been using it for political purposes ever since. Throughout that time I have conducted all sorts of experiments with Twitter, and registered dozens of Twitter usernames for numerous purposes over the years.

One of these experiments was to make unofficial accounts for all Danish government ministries on Twitter, back in April 2013. These accounts were all automated, tweeted news from the Ministries, and clearly stated in the biographies that the accounts were unofficial.

Something has recently started to change in Denmark though, as 4 Ministries have contacted me in the last few weeks to ‘officialise’ their accounts. The first of these – Kulturministeriet @KUM_dk renamed to @Kulturmin – has now gone live.

The process to officialise the account was however far from ideal.

I received a stern e-mail from their Comms guy, telling me the account was a “problem” (why only now is this a problem, I answered, as the account has been tweeting for 12 months?) but agreed to hand it over to them. At no point in my e-mails exchanged with them was the word ‘thanks’ used once from their side, and the newly-renamed and officialised account has not tweeted anything about the process to say it is now official. I’ve delivered them a starter-following of 110 people, for free, and helped out. As I have made clear here I will of course not demand any payment if people want access to any of these accounts I happen to have registered.

Further, if they had been friendly towards me, I could have happily sent some of my 10000 followers towards them too. But no, by being unfriendly they can have this blog entry berating them instead.


  1. quarsan

    Give me all the Danish accounts and passwords. It’s the right thing to do Jon.

  2. In many ways I find the professional social media world of Denmark a small place where inspiration from the outside is not welcome and a friendly word or gesture are few and far between. Perhaps I only notice because of the contrast between the Danish part of social media and the rest of the world.

    Jon, you lived and tried to integrate both socially and professionally in Denmark for a about 14 months, and in spite of trying to comment on and work with people in political communications work, the response was slightly less than welcoming. There may be many reasons for this and these things are a 2-way street, but I do feel the slightly narrow minded and fearful nature of Danes have played a role.

    It almost seems like people are more afraid of being shown as not knowing everything rather than being willing to learn something new. It is not only something that I’ve seen examples of in regards to you and your field but also elsewhere. I hope that we Danes can learn to loosen up and open up a bit more.

    To follow up on this post by Jon, then Benjamin blogged a reply on his blog: http://www.elberth.dk/er-det-i-orden-at-oprette-andre-pa-twitter.html, where I posted a comment. I also posted on my own blog about this http://www.karenmelchior.eu/sociale-medier-og-det-mindre-sociale-danmark/ (“Social Media and the Less Social Denmark”) All in Danish, but there is always Google translate.

  3. @Benjamin – I don’t say directly that Danes are rude, but yes, it’s pretty much that, yes. And your arrogant and rude reaction emphasises the point still further.

    If you don’t think that the accounts made for the Ministries were useful, how do you account for the fact that these accounts are followed by a good few hundred people, and – in the case of @UM_dk – by more than 500 people. The @UM_dk account is followed by journalists, official accounts of diplomats and regions, and by politicians. How that is not a useful service is beyond me.

    The reason you, and indeed the Kulturministeriet people, do not say thanks is that what I did put all of you on the spot – someone beat you to it, did it faster, and – with no finance or imperative actually delivered a decent service that was useful to a lot of people. For notional social media ‘experts’ in the Danish political environment that puts you on the spot, and you don’t feel good if someone did it before you.

    As for berating the Kulturministeriet situation – it is perfectly fair! The service, as it was, is now no longer running, the account has been half-officialized, and it would be better to do that sensibly and professionally, all in one go, rather than piecemeal. Plus I was told by them it was imperative to give them the account this week – and then nothing is done.

  4. Hi Jon

    First of all thx – for letting danes know, that you think we are rude 😉

    Last time I tried to write you something positive, you really didn’t take it so well, because a few things were lost in translation. This time I hope you will bear with me and give me the benefit of the doubt, if I don’t make complete sense.

    I don’t think it is seen as a service for anyone, that you created the account for the Danish Ministries. They like to control their own communication. That’s why they don’t thank you – they really haven’t asked for anyone to put them on Twitter.

    The account from @Kulturmin that was renamed this week has not started tweeting yet, because they are making a strategy for the use. Really seems a bit harsh that you write this blog post two days later to punish them for giving their Twitter presence a second thought. If you took my handle and created a Twitter acocount for me without asking I would probably not thank you either but just wonder, why you did not ask or wonder why you think, that you are entitled to put a Danish ministry on Twitter, if they really don’t want to be there?

    Best regards
    Benjamin Rud Elberth

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