Latvia seeks facelift for Facebook

Latvia’s face on Facebook is in the process of getting a facelift. And fans of Latvia still have a chance to vote on the new look, according to the Latvian Institute.

Up till now, the “official” page for Latvia has been However, given that its stated mission is “promoting knowledge about Latvia,” the page is a bit dull and looks like so many other Facebook sites.

So the institute, which is essentially the public relations and brand marketing arm of the Latvian government, together with the State Chancellery organized a competion that drew interest from a number of designers. After a day of discussion about what the new Facebook page should contain, the designers submitted their concepts. Now five entries are the topic of a poll that so far has drawn more than 1,200 votes.

The five designs were submitted by Djigital; the #LVFacebook team of Aleksandrs Borovenskis, Arjan Tupan and Ruben Martinez; the advertising firm Leo Burnett Riga; Digibrand; and the team of Anastasia Zenčika, Jeļena Gaikeviča and Mihails Žuravļovs. Overviews and videos of their concepts are available on the Cabinet of Ministers’ website. Details on what Latvia is looking for in its Facebook page are available in a manifest (PDF, in Latvian).

One challenge for the Latvian Institute is getting Facebook to allow Latvia to use Latvia as its Facebook name. Confused? Right now, no page exists at the address The Latvian Institute is pushing Facebook to allow this, even offering to help set up guidelines for official “country pages” so that others might draw on Latvia’s experience, says Rihards Kalniņš, public relations specialist for the institute. He wrote about the issue in a recent post on the Latvian Institute’s blog.

(Out of curiosity, we checked a few country names on Facebook. France seems to have an inactive “official” page. Germany, Iceland, Estonia and Lithuania, like so many others, have nothing. Russia’s page belongs to some guy named Ahmed Ali, while Turkey’s is run by a woman named Pat in British Columbia who is passionate about the country. Yeah, guidelines might be a good idea.)

In the meantime, fans of Latvia have until Oct. 4 to vote for their favorite design. The poll is found on the Latvian Institute’s Facebook page,

Facebook meeting

Zanda Šadre, press secretary for the Cabinet of Ministers, and Rihards Kalniņš, public relations specialist for the Latvian Institute, lead a recent discussion in Rīga about the new look of Latvia’s official Facebook page. (Photo courtesy of the State Chancellery)

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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