Originally published in the Evening Standard
As the Brexit debate rages on social media, one east London tech crew is making the remain campaign go viral, says Joy Lo Dico
Better together: We are Europe supporters
The Leave campaign has cornered head and heart in this debate with its cri de coeur for the white cliffs of Dover and arguments about immigration. The Remain campaign has so far only done the head. The heart though is stirring, both with We Are Europe and other spontaneous offerings. Earlier this week artist and photographer Wolfgang Tillmans designed a set of posters for those who want to remain, inviting people to share them on Instagram and display them. Slogans include “No man is an island”. and “What is lost is lost forever.”
That is not to say that some politicians haven’t understood the need to engage people at a different level. Last week Gordon Brown, giving a speech hosted by the Centre for European Reform, urged his audience of economists and financiers to make the arguments for a “passionate, principled and patriotic” Remain vote. Admittedly his messengers may not have been the hottest on Twitter.
What this campaign needs is an amplification through social media, not just to encourage people to vote In, but to make sure they are registered to vote. As Lily Cole puts it: “There is a real chance this referendum is going to be decided by the active minority of people who called for it, rather than by the majority of our country reflecting on what the EU really means.”
However, it would be wrong to think that the Brexiteers haven’t themselves spotted social media’s value. Within weeks of launching, We Are Europe’s social media channels have been targeted by the Outers haranguing them with reasons for why it is time to get out of Europe.
“On Twitter we are getting a lot of trolls or people getting a bit angsty,” says Harris. But their drive to smoke out the shy-Remainers does seem to be working. “We’ve also had a lot of Remain supporters joining us. We all have to start stepping up,” she adds. “If you feel it in your gut, you don’t have to get into arguments but you do have to get positive and say it.” And the place to have your voice heard is online.
Follow We Are Europe on Twitter: @weareeuropeuk