Vt. Tourism Hands Over Social Marketing, Twitter Account To Public

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The state of Vermont is handing over control of its social media marketing machine, saying it’s seeking an authentic, uncensored voice to promote tourism online.

State officials say they’ll have people on Twitter send messages using the Twitter handle @ThisIsVT.

Steve Cook is deputy director of the Vermont Department of Tourism, which is organizing the campaign. Cook says consumers are growing more accustomed to user-generated content when making decisions about purchasing a product or choosing a vacation destination.

"We all count on our peer reviews in making those decisions," Cook said. "This is just another way to generate those peer reviews about Vermont."

The social media campaign is modeled after similar ones in Europe. For months, the Swedish government has been handing over the @sweden Twitter account to a different citizen each week. But one week its owner fired off some questionable, crude messages.

Vermont Tourism Communications Director Jen Butson says the state is implementing a thorough application process to make sure the campaign doesn’t careen off its promotional track.

"Our [application] forms are built so that we’re having a second follow-up interview process so that we know who they are," she said. "Because we certainly don’t want to have them saying things that could be off-putting but we don’t want to censor them either. So it’s certainly a fine line of communication."

The campaign began Monday, and the state is encouraging people to apply. So far, more than 20 tech-savvy Vermonters have applied for the chance to tweet as ‘This Is VT.’

To learn how to apply, visit the Vermont Tourism and Marketing Website here.

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