New working paper: What does a satellite campaign do? The use of Momentum in Labour’s 2017 General Election Facebook campaign

Access the paper via ArXiv or read and download below. A commentary follows.


Through satellite page Momentum (via what I call the ‘new methods’ Facebook campaign) the party was using novel content and participation forms to activate followers including pushing volunteering and just-turn-up style doorstep efforts. Satellite page Momentum focused equally on participation and information, using novel, partisan and divisive content, large amounts of leadership personalisation and humour, to activate a younger more partisan audience and get them campaigning online and offline. This fulfils some ‘cyber party’ ideals (Margetts, 2001) that break down barriers between the party and public.

Momentum was placing a large amount of effort into activating their audience online and offline, this is in stark contrast the the Labour Party page that focused on broad brush stroke information, with any participation content seen focused on registering to vote/voting. Momentum treated their online audience as a reservoir of potential offline campaign activism, breaking down the barriers between ‘official’ and ‘virtual members’.


Via the party page (and somewhat Corbyn’s page) Labour was recreating tried and tested approaches seen via traditional campaigning. The ‘traditional Facebook campaign’ via the leader and party page, saw the party using core policy messages, open inclusive rhetoric and a focus on information over participation to campaign to the mass public. Party page content was infographic heavy, with this traditional Facebook campaign focused on depersonalised info & policy, using Facebook like leaflets. You would seldom find a Labour Party page post that featured Corbyn, instead he was hidden on the page, a clever communications strategy for the party, because much of the public were not enamoured with Corbyn.

This strategy worked especially well because rather than your local Labour pavement campaign group these infographics would be shared by your mum. With the content accessible and clear. This was all the while Momentum was going exceedingly viral activating audiences, while Corbyn smashed viewing records for Labour’s Live events all livestreamed on Facebook. Finally, Corbyn’s page acted more akin to a middle man, utilising less policy focus, instead operating as a passionate vehicle for partisanship/personalisation. This was about getting the public activated, for example registering to vote, spreading messages and undermining Theresa May.


I will be working on it further to submit to a journal, but I am going to be busy soon so want the knowledge out there ASAP (thus the preprint).

I have also coded the Tories leader and party pages 2015/17, Labour leader and party page 2015 + Momentum in 2018 so more to come.


Citation of paper – MLA

One response to “New working paper: What does a satellite campaign do? The use of Momentum in Labour’s 2017 General Election Facebook campaign”

  1. […] New working paper: What does a satellite campaign do? The use of Momentum in Labour’s 2017 General… […]


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