Momentum on Twitter: A Basic Guide

In view of the confusion generated in recent days regarding the veracity of various accounts billing themselves as branches of Momentum, I thought it might be useful both for supporters and detractors to be able to easily distinguish between the fake and the real. This will save Momentum people from approvingly retweeting accounts dedicated to mocking them, whilst simultaneously preventing those critical of Momentum from mistakenly attributing something to Momentum which is actually parody.

All information recorded below is to the best of my ability accurate at the time of writing (31st December 2015). I have tried my best to keep my own personal political bias out of this piece, and simply report the facts on the ground.

Parody Accounts

At the time of writing there are not actually a huge number of parody Momentum accounts, although chances are that in the coming days and weeks more will appear. I have found 7, which I will list below;

- Chelsea Momentum

- Dunwich Momentum

- Hogwarts Momentum

- Maomentum

- Poeple’s Momentum

- Tatooine Momentum

- Wirral Momentum

Some, like Hogwarts and Tatooine, are pretty obvious, but Dunwich is a more obscure pop culture reference, recognizable only to HP Lovecraft fans. Maomentum was set up in the wake of John McDonnell’s Little Red Book recital in the House of Commons. Chelsea seemed like an odd place to have a branch of Momentum, and a quick look at the feed confirms that the denizens of SW3 have yet to succumb to the lure of the new politics; the account is a fake. Poeple’s Momentum is a deliberate misspelling rather than a case of passion overruling letter order. The one that initially hid its parodic nature quite well was ‘Wirral’, although stunts like creating a poll asking people whether they supported Corbyn and then claiming that 100% had said yes when the poll came back with 29% helped reveal its satirical nature.

In Between

Then we have something quite interesting. Accounts which are not parody, but instead appear to be hard-left people setting up on their own under the banner of Momentum. So far I’ve only found one clear example of an account like this which Momentum has publicly disassociated itself from;

- Momentum Hampshire

The People’s Momentum account, which is the Momentum Mothership, have reported this as a fake account, after Momentum Hampshire saw fit to tweet the following to Angela Eagle;

Another account which seemed like it might be close to having its ‘status’ revoked is the Momentum Huddersfield account, which caused a minor shit-storm by tweeting this to Hillary Benn;

However, it would appear that no action has been taken at this time — and given the tension between Benn and Corbyn, it seems unlikely that any action will be taken in this regard.

Other Accounts

I will now provide a list of the other accounts referring to themselves as Momentum groups from various areas. I believe these are genuine insofar as they have not been created to make fun of Momentum, but seem to be fully supportive of what they see as the ideology espoused by Jeremy Corbyn. Some of them have been around for months and tweet prolifically, others seem to have been set up very recently and have hardly said anything. There are those which seem to focus more on substantive policy issues, whilst there are others which seem to spend most of their time insulting the Tories. Nonetheless, here they are;

People’s Momentum (the main Momentum account) followed by;

- Momentum Arts

- Momentum B&H (Brighton and Hove)

- Momentum Barnet

- Momentum Battersea

- Momentum Birmingham

- Momentum Blackpool

- Momentum Brent

- Momentum Bristol

- Momentum Bromsgrove

- Momentum Burton

- Momentum CAM

- Momentum Camden

- Momentum Cardiff

- Momentum Chelmsford

- Momentum Colchester

- Momentum Darlington

- Momentum Doncaster

- Momentum Durham

- Momentum Ealing

- Momentum Edinburgh

- Momentum Epping

- Momentum Essex

- Momentum Garston

- Momentum Greenwich

- Momentum Hackney

- Momentum Hillingdon

- Momentum Hounslow

- Momentum Huddersfield

- Momentum Kent

- Momentum Lincs (Lincolnshire)

- Momentum Lancashire

- Momentum Manchester

- Momentum Medway

- Momentum Merseyside

- Momentum Newcastle East

- Momentum North Cambs (Cambridgeshire)

- Momentum North Tyneside

- Momentum North West (Young)

- Momentum Nuneaton

- Momentum Oxford

- Momentum Peterborough

- Momentum Rochdale

- Momentum Salford

- Momentum Sefton

- Momentum Sheffield

- Momentum Shrewsbury

- Momentum Southend

- Momentum South Tyneside

- Momentum Southwark

- Momentum South West

- Momentum Stockport

- Momentum Sutton

- Momentum Swanley

- Momentum Teesside

- Momentum Telford

- Momentum Thurrock

- Momentum UEA (University of East Anglia)

- Momentum Women

- Momentum Wessex

- Momentum West Devon

- Momentum Wyre Borough

- Momentum York

By my reckoning, that makes 63 different accounts clustering under the mantle of Momentum, although I’m sure that in the coming year this list will change. Some of these accounts will become inactive, others will probably be stripped of any legitimacy by ‘People’s Momentum’, and new ones will be set up.

I just want to end with a couple of points. The first is that it only took me a couple of hours to put this information together and write this up. Why someone from Momentum hasn’t done something like this and made it public (surely they should have access to far more information about Momentum accounts than I do) is completely beyond me.

Secondly, whatever your feelings are about Momentum, it’s a fascinating case study of the struggles that a movement must contend with if it bills itself as ‘grassroots’ yet hopes to have a measure of control from the centre. Ironically, the closest example from recent years that I can think of is poles apart politically — the Tea Party in the US also had the same struggle. I certainly don’t expect Momentum to ask the Tea Party for advice on how to deal with this issue, but despite the mutual disdain I suspect the movements would have for each other, their difficulties in this regard are not dissimilar.

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