Coordination is a challenge for grassroots on-line movements. However, we are colonising the internet, and there are signposts to help coordinate the movement. This post takes stock of where we are in terms of social media and introduces a new group aiming to help the movement "take back control" of YouTube; YouTubers for Europe.
With the #FBPE, #WATON and #NHSlove hashtags, Remainers are coordinating their twitter activity. The Facebook groups are legion, covering almost every interest group (I have yet to find joggers for the EU or Remain Crochet sites … doesn’t mean they don’t exist!). We also have a presence on Instagram – and with the arrival of the Millenials in the form of OFOC (Our Future Our Choice) hopefully more social media channels will be colonised by the remain movement. We have podcasts galore, notably The New European Podcast and Remainiacs
A new group is hoping to help the movement take over a further social media platform; YouTube. There are plenty of Youtube stars, you may have seen this chap, for instance; The artist Taxidriver. YouTubers for Europe is a group that will help people coordinate – either through creating their own channels or creating a following for pro-Remain, pro-Europe Youtubers such as OFOC . Mattanza Mafia Fedora is its founder. He has also provided guidance for those of us who have no idea about how to set up a YouTube channel. One of the benefits of Brexit is a whole groups of people learning internet skills they never knew they would ever need!
Being able to utilise these platforms, while no substitute for the leg work of weekend stalls, and doorstep canvassing, gives us social reach from our homes. It helps those of us who are trying to protect our citizenship rights from abroad to make a contribution. We are a very haphazard movement; being volunteers and being liberals it means we can appear quite fractured. Taking on Brexit means that activism can’t be narrowed down to a single issue on which to place focus; Brexit is a social malaise, the sum total of all the failings of our system over a long period of time. It is the need for improved levels of investigative journalism, it is the quest for better levels of education, it is a fight against a highly coordinated, manipulative and well financed media campaign, it is austerity, it is the NHS, it is racism, it is desperation and social deprivation … It is not just, and never has been, and never could be just #stopBrexit. Groups that have narrow focus (The 3 Million, Hope not Hate OFOC, can target their operations in a way that the catch all groups cannot. A further consideration is this;
“the average Facebook user spends 55 minutes on the site each day; 50 million Tweets are sent every 24 hours; 2 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. Haphazard outreach to just one of these platforms misses the mark widely, sacrificing a significant return on investment.” (Lawrence)
The Remain movement seems to some highly disorganised and fractured, However the levels of cooperation between the major groups that goes on behind the scenes is significant. At the level of voluntary activism we are very individualistic. However, we have both international (European Movement) and national (Best for Britain, Britain for Europe, Open Britain) movements that are funded, organised and provide coordination. If we want to start aiming in one direction, visit their websites and follow their lead; integrate it into your own efforts. We have achieved a lot – the dialogue would to have turned to a second referendum had we had allowed ourselves to be silenced. Now by looking at the national organisations we can follow their lead and amplify our message to the UK and to Europe.
We have colonised Twitter and Facebook. We are owning the streets. It is time to take the fight to YouTube!
How SocialActivists are making the most of social media, Dallas Lawrence