“Sweden is a leading IT-country and the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok is right up front, too, when it comes to applying digital means of serving its clients.”
That was the message when the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok on Wednesday 14 December 2011 presented the new IT Strategy of the Swedish government and introduced a few of the local Swedish IT savvy companies at the fashionable Bed Supperclub nightclub in the heart of Bangkok’s hot nightlife.
Ambassador Klas Molin held the opening speech at the event that was called in as a press conference, but in reality turned out to be a networking event, except the guests were not the typical members of the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, but more a mix of the Young Professionals with outside guests from some of the local Bangkok media.
The two examples among the Swedish companies in Thailand, that had been invited to show how they worked with IT, were Area Digital – an advanced web creating company based in Bangkok – and the Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar which is partly owned by Swedes and over the last year has grown to be a well established destination for not only Bangkokians, but also international residents and visitors.
To promote themselves Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar are using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They are regularly online and connect to the guests by having polls about their drinks and food etc through Facebook.
Area Digital are not only a full service agency that construct quality websites, they also build advanced solutions based on databases and helps with online marketing for different companies.
The Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok is an example of how a Swedish Government Authority can use online media as a communication tool.
At the event, the Embassy showed its new video explaining how to get a visa to Sweden. The clip, which is in Thai and Swedish and with subtitles in both languages, shows how to apply for a visa to Sweden. Through visualizing the application process with the help of internet platforms such as YouTube the Embassy hopes to be able to better explain the necessary steps needed to apply for a visa to Sweden. The goal is to increase service and understanding of the application process through simplified information made available online.
Although the application process in real life is not as simple and pleasant as the video shows, it was still a modern and instructive method of communication.
The Embassy works extensively with it’s website. You can find updated information about visas, travel information for Swedes and more.
The Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok was named the best website year 2009. The Embassy launched its first social media project on Facebook end of April 2010 and shortly thereafter an account was created on Twitter. The main purpose with social media has been to inform Swedes living and travelling to Thailand about the situation in the country but it has also been used as a channel to inform Thais about Sweden and to promote all things Swedish.
The embassy has also been exploring new platforms for information including an increased use of online media.
The Embassy is primarily part of Swedenabroad.com, but a number of other institutions related to information about Sweden are also integrated into the embassy’s total communication platform. Some examples are SI.se, Studyinsweden.se etc.
The Swedish digital agenda
In October 2011 the Swedish Government presented a new IT-strategy for the country. The aim is to become one of the best countries in the world when it comes to IT-solutions and digitalization.
According to Internet World Stats 22.7 % of European population use the Internet. In Sweden that number is 74% which means that approximately 6.5 million Swedes between the age 16-75 go online. Many internet users turn to social media for information just as much as they would with traditional online media.
“That’s why it’s also important for Government organizations such as the Embassy to be present and active on popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and use video sharing platforms such as you-tube,” the ambassador said.
The digital agenda will not only involve Government bodies; the goal is to engage the whole country in excelling at using IT-technology in order to simplify every day tasks and promote the advantages of user-friendly digital solutions so that innovative technology can be used to serve society. Therefore we want to share some examples with you of this.
Swedish photographer Tommy Nori was there and documented the participants having a great evening.