The Tory attempt to create – which shows how badly they missed the point – their own version of Labour-supporting movement Momentum has been a source of hilarity ever since its ill-conceived beginnings.
Activate became (in)famous for anything but being a vibrant political movement, with a series of blunders and arrogance such as:
- selling hugely-expensive bottles of champagne signed by Tory ‘celebrities’
- vast membership fees – later slashed
- terrible – terrible – memes
- vacating its original Twitter handle without preventing it being taken over by a spoof account – which Activate still pointed to from its website
- an astonishing gaffe in which it gave control of its social media accounts to an undercover reporter – and paid for it with enormous humiliation: tweets in Russian; a ‘turf war’ between ‘rival’ Facebook and Twitter accounts; the denouncing of Activate’s spokesman by the ‘official’ account while he was live on BBC radio and oh so much more
- log-in mix-ups that showed the Activate team were also operating a ‘new’ social media account in the hope of diverting from the humiliation of the Activate brand
- vicious in-fighting over leaks to media
- vile homophobic WhatsApp conversations
The group recently tried to ‘relaunch’, with an expensive champagne evening that attracted only thirty or so people – including staff and journalists. But although Activate’s spokespeople tried to bluster their way through the ongoing disaster, it appears that the project is finally, belatedly dead.
A visit to the Activate website returns a ‘404’ error – while the group’s (later) Twitter account now shows only a single tweet under a revised description of ‘The artist formerly known as’:
The departing tweet might be the nearest to a successful social media message the group – or the Tories as a whole – have ever managed. Presumably the Tories have decided to put their money into more ‘bots’ and paid trolls instead.
But while it lasted, it provided both a fount of amusement and an object lesson in why Tories can’t do social media, let alone inspire a movement.
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