Following the ever-changing world of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and other social media platforms feels a lot like watching local news broadcasts – there seems to be a lot of negative news going around. From the multiple McDonalds hashtag highjackings, to rogue tweets on professional accounts by oblivious employees that cost companies money, to public figures sticking their foot in their mouths in 140 characters or less. It’s no surprise a lot of business owners who aren’t so social media savvy are skeptical about becoming a part of this world that boasted more than 4.2 billion users among the major platforms at the end of 2011.
So it was refreshing to read an article on Mashable last week about how Iceland, a country with the principle that everyone is a friend until proven otherwise, has embraced social media and modern technology to help rebuild the country. For instance:
- Inspiredbyiceland.com uses Vimeo and Tumblr to share sights and stories to whet visitors’ interests in visiting Iceland; and citizens (including the president) post invitations to personally escort visitors on tours of the country. You can even watch a live feed of Iceland, though I recommend not watching at 4 p.m. CST as most of the country is asleep so not much is going on.
- Last year, through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr Iceland enlisted the help of all of its citizens to rewrite its constitution.
- When the country’s president announced he would not run for re-election in 2012 residents started an online petition for him to stay in office, which he ultimately agreed to do until the country’s economic issues are resolved.
Read How Iceland is Rebuilding its Economy with Social Media for more examples of the innovative campaigns they are implementing as they rebuild their economy and their international image.
It’s safe to say this approach would not work as seamlessly in other countries, like the U.S., but maybe it will help us reexamine how we treat our “friends” online.
*Pictured: screen shot of a live feed of Tjornin, Iceland (www.inspiredbyiceland.com).