Hey folks, Adam here. I had quite a busy weekend last week—one that has now been documented in the national press!—and thought I’d share some thoughts about it on here.
I’ve been a member of the Labour Party and the related grassroots movement Momentum for several years now, but beyond a bit of leafleting here and there social anxiety has kept me away from the phonebanking, street stands and doorknocking that lie at the heart of party political activity. When I first got an email about the Momentum Digital Hub a few weeks back, I was interested, but slightly reluctant. Initially, I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to contribute—while I dabble in a lot of things, I wasn’t sure if there’d be a use for the skills I’m completely confident in. I signed up anyway, though, and got a message from one of the facilitators asking if I had any questions, and after a quick chat she assured me there would definitely be something for me to do. I was still slightly apprehensive, but I went along anyway, planning to get the lay of the land, go out for lunch with a friend and maybe go back afterwards if there was something for me to do.
I turned up a little late, and already the room was buzzing with activity. Small working groups had formed around the scattered tables, and various people with “facilitator” badges were standing around the drinks area in the centre to help people who had just arrived and looked confused. As one such confused-looking person, I was greeted and directed to a corner of the room where I was introduced to Harry and Adam (a different one).
“What sort of stuff can you do?” they asked.
“I can do Google Analytics and Tag Manager…”
“Tag Manager? You know anything about the data layer? We could do with someone taking a look at that.”
“My dudes,” I didn’t say, “I’m all about the data layer”.
Like that, I was off to the races. Creating Trello boards, reviewing tracking setups, creating events… I stayed until the late evening, then returned home to Brighton, trying both to draw up a plan for future tracking on the train and to keep my eyes open. I was so enthused I ended up going back the next day, which I hadn’t planned to. It was a bit quieter, and I was able to spend more time discussing stuff with the others, and I was able to get agreement for a bunch of “next steps” for the planning, which I will be following up on in the coming weeks!
By the end I was exhausted and the realisation dawned that I had spent my entire weekend doing what I spend the whole week doing anyway; but also that I didn’t mind. I don’t think I can quite oversell how good it was to be able to fully contribute to an endeavour in that way. Part of it was relief—I was able to be useful, even when I thought I wouldn’t be!—but a lot of it was that I was able to use my skills in service of something I believe in. I love all of our clients (of course!) but doing stuff for a cause is another thing entirely. It was a great weekend, and I’d like to encourage anyone who’s so inclined—especially if, like me, you’re not well-suited for the usual forms of political activity—to get involved with stuff like this.
Unless you’re a Tory.
Over and out.