I would normally reserve a link like this to the linklog, but this one gives me the chance to say, “Told you so, neeeh!”
A couple of weeks ago, a video appeared on YouTube featuring Tommy Sheppard, former Labour apparatchik and owner of ‘The Stand’ comedy clubs. The film was a request for feedback from the founding fathers of a website called ‘YouScotland.com‘, asking whether or not they should continue with their venture.
That their video has at the time of writing had only 257 hits and attracted precisely zero viewer comments, is probably all the feedback they need.
But since then, nothing again. I have to admit that before Richard Thomson’s post, I had completely forgotten about YouScotland. I suppose it is natural that YouScotland was going to quieten down a bit once the election was over. But these are the people who thought they could kick-start a second enlightenment. One funny video then disappearing without a trace isn’t enough to achieve that sort of thing.
Looking at site’s failings, I think Richard Thomson hits the nail on the head. And I can’t help feeling that I was right when I wrote my first post about YouScotland in February. The virals made me have a re-think, but it looks like my initial gut instincts turned out to be right.
Funniest of all about YouScotland was the fact that they tried their best to sound like a state-of-the-art Web 2.0 campaigning machine. But the middle-aged clique who ran it fundamentally misunderstood what Web 2.0 is all about. I’m afraid it was a real disco Dad moment.
Even more embarrassingly, they seemed to misunderstand how grass-roots movements form. Hint: grass-roots movements tend to form from the bottom-up, not at the say-so of a clique.
And now that the SNP are in charge, they can’t really point at Scottish Labour and complain about the establishment any more. Change happened. They can’t use the same old anti-establishment rhetoric, because a pro-independence party is the establishment now!
They were also not helped by the fact that they didn’t seem to be very different to a lot of pro-independence organisations, or the established pro-change movement as a whole. Why be bombarded with requests for donations at YouScotland when it didn’t offer anything different?
Ah yes, those requests for donations. In Tommy Sheppard’s latest video, he says that the only way YouScotland could continue is if all of its users donated “a minimum of ten pounds”. Ten pounds!! What?!
I mean, really, how expensive is it to make a website like YouScotland (which was shoddy anyway)? There are any number of political movements who do not go around cap in hand — and they certainly do not ask for a minimum of £10.
As I said in my original post about YouScotland, it costs nothing to set up a blog. While I accept that you could not expect a website like YouScotland to be made for nothing, you have to ask what they were intending to spend the money on?
I mean, say that YouScotland managed to get 1,000 members (in some ways, quite modest for a revolutionary, rip-roaring grass-roots movement). If each member donates a tenner per year, YouScotland would have £10,000 to spend every single year. I mean, what on earth was that website going to have on it for it to cost that much to make?!
Try to visit YouScotland today and the website will not load. If I had donated some money in the run-up to the election, I reckon I would feel pretty short-changed.