Activate deactivated: Conservatives’ Momentum imitation folds after 8 months

From The London Economic: Activate, the Conservatives’ imitation of Momentum, has folded after just eight months.

The political movement was set up to engage young people in centre-right politics but has struggled to make any headway since it was launched in August last year.

Many have argued that the group was doomed from the start having been set the impossible mission of becoming the vehicle for a conservative mass movement that never existed.

A visit to the Activate website returns a ‘404’ error – while the group’s Twitter account now shows only a single tweet under a revised name of “The artist formerly known as Activate”.

[Read full article on The London Economic…]

Analysis: SNP’s staggering dominance of social media

From STV News: While the Nationalists have been clocking up votes, they have also accumulated hundreds of thousands of likes, followers and subscribers across social media.

No other Scottish political party comes close to matching their online influence.

As the readerships of newspapers continue to tumble, more and more Scots are learning of political developments not through traditional news stories written by journalists but from party press releases plus videos created by political propagandists.

Over the last two years the SNP has employed staff solely to create content for its online feeds. The investment is paying off by any measurement.

[Read full article on STV News website…]

The Conservative Party’s Instagram shows their social media game is absolutely terrible

From BuzzFeed: “The Conservatives have been forced to come up with a new social media strategy at their annual party conference.

“Unfortunately for their electoral prospects, this involves paying to push candid mobile phone pictures of middle-aged Cabinet Office minister Damian Green holding a piece of paper into the public’s Instagram feeds.

“Shortly afterwards the Conservatives made another Instagram post: This time it was an overlit picture of defence secretary Michael Fallon sitting in a temporary office.”

[Read full article on BuzzFeed…]

Scotland: Research finds Scottish Greens and SNP are the most trusted parties on digital platforms

From The National: A new study by a team of Scottish academics has shown that the Scottish Greens and the SNP are the most trusted parties on the reliability of facts they present on the internet and social media, while the Scottish Conservatives are the least trusted.

The study by Professor Rita Marcella, research fellow Graeme Baxter and researcher Agnieszka Walicka explored public perceptions of the reliability of information presented online as “facts” by Scottish political parties.

It is the follow-up to the study they carried out about the referendum in 2014, which found that citizens were “generally sceptical about the reliability of information presented online as ‘the facts’ or ‘the truth’ by Better Together, Yes Scotland, and the main Scottish political parties”.

[Read full article on The National website…]

The Tories tried to launch a right-wing Momentum and it’s just embarrassing

From Huck magazine: “Welcome to Activate UK”, read their first Tweet posted yesterday evening, with #activateuk #meme #retweet #rt thrown in for good measure. It’s not just the embarrassing hashtags that suggest whoever is behind the social media operation here is doomed to fail from the offset, anyone with a grip on social media could tell you the their handle (@Activate_uk_net) with its double underscoring is truly an awful choice.

[Read full article on Huck magazine website…]

We need to be in the Premier League on social media – Vince Cable

From Mark Pack’s blog: Although only elected the new Liberal Democrat leader on Thursday, Vince Cable has already several times made the point about how important social media is for the party. It provides a route to reach voters even though newspaper owners often dislike us and so many voters have letterboxes locked away behind intercoms and security doors.

[Read full article on Mark Pack’s blog…]


How Momentum delivered Labour’s stunning election result – and how the Tories are trying to copy it

From The Independent: The worry for Momentum and the Labour Party must be that with the resources the Conservatives have, they may soon be able to outdo them at their own game. Despite its massive reach and influence, Momentum has very few paid staff and mostly relies on the goodwill and enthusiasm of volunteers and activists.

[Read article on the Independent website…]

What the Tories don’t understand about Momentum

Erika Uyterhoeven, digital officer for Momentum, writes in the Guardian: With just one paid staff member and more than 30 volunteers from Edinburgh to Miami, Momentum managed to create social media videos that were watched by nearly one in three UK Facebook users. Ordinary members made the videos. Other members shared them. Both their production and impact were consequences of the movement.

[Read full article on the Guardian website…]

How Labour activists are already building a digital strategy to win the next election

From New Statesman: By planning a long-term digital strategy, Momentum hopes to improve on Labour’s 2017 election performance. Its social media team is developing tools to analyse the success of videos and posts among each demographic (one in three people on Facebook viewed its videos during the campaign), in order to expand its reach further.

The team is also building its own online payments system – it had been using PayPal, which charges a fixed fee, meaning “losing about a quarter of our donations to the one per cent”, according to digital officer and former Bernie Sanders staff member Erika Uyterhoeven.

She is not the only former Sanders campaign worker interested in Corbynism. Supporters of the two left-wing politicians built a fruitful relationship during the election campaign, with activists coming over from the US to help train canvassers. Ben Packer, who helped code during the campaign, says: “I’m just trying to help people steal our stuff… Even though the issues are somewhat country specific, they’re analogous – you want a better National Health Service, we want some national health service; the tech is the same.”

[Read full article on New Statesman website…]


How social media saved socialism

Ben Tarnoff writes in the Guardian:“Grievances alone don’t produce political movements. A pile of dry wood isn’t enough to start a fire. It needs a spark – or several.

“For the resurgent left, an essential spark is social media. In fact, it’s one of the most crucial and least understood catalysts of contemporary socialism. Since the networked uprisings of 2011 – the year of the Arab spring, Occupy Wall Street and the Spanish indignados – we’ve seen how social media can rapidly bring masses of people into the streets. But social media isn’t just a tool for mobilizing people. It’s also a tool for politicizing them. Read more

May’s deal with DUP faces legal challenge from crowdfunding campaign

From The Guardian: A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to raise funds for a potential legal challenge to Theresa May’s parliamentary deal with the Democratic Unionist party, on the grounds that it breaches the Good Friday agreement.

Lawyers acting for Ciaran McClean, a Green Party politician in Northern Ireland, allege that the pact between the minority Conservative government and the DUP is in breach of both the landmark 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal and the Bribery Act.

[Read full article on Guardian website…] [Crowdfunder link…]

Amplifying The Green Party’s social media and digital campaign during the UK General Election

From social media marketing agency Montfort: The challenge was multi-faceted; Montfort was to assist The Green Party during an exceptionally busy time. Joining the team in ‘all hands on deck’ moment and immediately stepping in on social media implementation with the appropriate tone. A breadth of different content activities needed support, including copywriting, community management, live events and creative strategy.

As well as hands-on core social, a particular role was strategy and execution of Facebook paid media, with Montfort setting up, managing and reporting on advertising throughout the project. A key objective of the paid campaign was to drive engagement and reach new audiences with The Green Party messaging.

[Read full account on Montfort’s website…]

Conservatives look to win back ground on social media with ‘Momentum-style action groups’

From The Drum: The Conservative Party is looking to more effectively mobilise its followers and supporters on social media by emulating far-left organisations like Momentum.

Reeling from losing an effective majority in the recent election, a memo leaked by CCHQ and reported on by the Times said that the party is looking to “broaden its appeal” on social media, and will quadruple its staff working on the channel.

Furthermore, looking across partisan lines he added that the Tories need to embrace “new Momentum-style action groups set up around the country to galvanise the troops”.

[Read full article on The Drum website…]

How Momentum helped sway the general election

From The Week: The My Nearest Marginal website was the brainchild of Momentum and “one of the most useful weapons in [its] tech arsenal”, said The Times.

It allowed activists, particularly first-time canvassers, to easily find battleground seats and campaign more effectively for Labour and was used by more than 100,000 people.

“We reached out way beyond our own bubble – we only have 24,000 members,” said Adam Klug, one of the central Momentum team.

Momentum held “mass campaign weekends in critical seats such as Croydon Central, Derby North, Sheffield Hallam, Battersea, Leeds North West, and Brighton Kemptown”, the New Statesman reports, and in all of the targeted seats, “Conservative majorities collapsed in the face of energy and enthusiasm channelled into a movement”.

The professional nature of the movement was also a big positive. “It was like clockwork,” one volunteer told The Guardian, which says the activist had simply gone “to the front room of someone who knew she was coming” and they “told her the exact door numbers to knock on and what time to knock.

“Several sources said so many volunteers flooded the constituency that some had to be sent elsewhere.”

[Read full article on The Week website…]

How Momentum changed British politics forever

From Huffpost UK: Momentum’s General Election operation brought in a number of activists from the Bernie Sanders campaign in the US. The American activists’ knowhow proved vital in building an innovative and dynamic campaign to mobilise campaigners and galvanise support.

An updated version of this app was utilised by Momentum for the General Election, which supplemented our large phone banks in London and elsewhere.

Momentum also developed My Nearest Marginal, an easy to use website designed to direct activists towards their nearest key seat and help to ensure marginal constituencies had enough activists fighting for a Labour victory. More than 100,000 people used My Nearest Marginal during the General Election campaign, over four times the size of Momentum’s membership. This was one among many factors which allowed Labour to stack up votes in marginal constituencies, which pundits had assumed Labour would lose.

[Read full article on HuffPost UK…]

How Jeremy Corbyn turned a youth surge into general election votes

From The Guardian: Corbyn’s unusual appeal and status as an outsider meant that there was suddenly a huge amount of online coverage the party did not have to pay for. It secured a coveted prize of “organic sharing” – online users deciding to pass on campaign material to their friends and family voluntarily.

“The Tories spent vast amounts on digital advertising and local newspaper ads, but it was so negative that they got hardly any organic sharing – no one wanted to be associated with those messages,” said a senior campaign figure.

video of Corbyn interjecting during Theresa May’s Facebook Live chat on ITV received 4 million views. Corbyn challenging May to a debate reached 1.4 million people. A video on May’s security record reached 2.3 million people. As for the old-school rallies, Corbyn addressed 100,000 voters at 90 events during the campaign. It was the symbolism and energy of the events, however, that gave them significance.

Read more

Social media is the new campaign front

From The Times: Party campaigners only used to worry about an “air war” and a “ground war” in an election. Those engaged in the air war attempted to shape broadcast, radio and print coverage. The ground war took place on the streets, with party foot soldiers taking part in canvassing, door-knocks, leafleting and get-out-the vote operations on polling day.

But no more. Over the past 15 years, a new and increasingly important front has opened up in the struggle for power — the cyberwar.

The widespread use of social media sites, and Facebook in particular (60 per cent of the UK population has an account), has become a fundamental and increasingly sophisticated feature of political campaigns.

“All parties now do digital — some better than others,” says Ana Langer, a senior lecturer in political communication at the University of Glasgow.

[Read full article on The Times website…]

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