By most human accounts, Sweden's latest social experiment of letting random Swedes control the country's official Twitter account, has been a bit of disaster after Sonja Abrahamsson, a topless-appearing 27-year-old shared her curiosity about Jews. But if you ask number-crunching robots, it's been a huge success. With a stream of questions reminiscent of Henry Blodget's recent episode, Abrahamsson wondered "Whats the fuzz with jews?" and attracted attention all over the world. The BBC deemed the campaign "marred by 'Jew' comments." The New York Times called it a "sour note," at Slate it showed "profound ignorance," and the New York Daily News concluded the experiment had gone "from politically inspired to politically incorrect." But those are all humans. Looking at the algorithmically-driven web analytic tools, Abrahamsson's performance this week was a social media coup—and not just because of the extra followers (though those always help).
If the Internet has taught us anything it's that trolling breeds success, so long as the metric for success is eyeballs. Clearly, tweets like "You can't even see if a persona is a jew, unless you see their penises" or "in nazi German they even had to sew stars on their sleeves" caused an uproar. But they also caused a subsequent windfall in follows as the account went from 31,000 followers on Monday to 58,000 followers today, according to Twitter analytic tool Twitter Counter. (For what it's worth, Sonja appeared to show some remorse following the rant.)
Im sorry if some of you find the question offensive. Thats was not my purpose. I just don't get why some people hates jews so much.— @sweden / Sonja (@sweden) June 12, 2012
Areas of Influence
Where humans see hate, robots see expertise. As a result, all those half-cocked comments about the Third Reich earned Sonja an "influential about" ranking in the areas of Judaism and Human Rights, according to Klout Score. That sort of makes sense if you consider tactless rants "teachable moments."
Do you get Twitter? It's the question social media "gurus" jump at answering in the affirmative because they know the conversational tone that governs the world of Twitter. Well, according to Analyze Words, an analytics tool that uses "scientific research" to assess diction, Sonja gets it too.
Quite impressively, the non-native English speaker ranks well when it comes to the qualities of being "plugged in" and "personal," while not over-doing it on levels of arrogance and Valley girl-ness. We're guessing her Daft Punk cred gets her pretty far.
Even the ever-cynical KLOUCHEBAG index, a tool that monitors Twitter accounts for annoying tendencies like constant retweeting, social app usage, exclamation marks and OMGs finds Sonja to be a "mostly alright" member of Twitter society. Not bad! Thought it dings Sonja on her misspellings, her mostly positive tone gets her a decent Klouchebag rating.
Finally, Klout Score's blackbox algorithm for weighing who retweets you and who likes your messages gives @Sweden excellent marks for being a "thought leader" among the fickle masses.
Clearly, algorithms have yet to become sophisticated enough to detect taboos or departures from politically-correct behavior. Until then, Sonja will remain queen of the robots.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.