Wednesday, April 29, 2009

social media means Urban Chickens now legal in Asheville, NC

Very happy to see that the news that urban chickens are now legal in Asheville, NC (pop ~220,000, map). The city council approved the measure just last night, in front of a crowd of 120 citizens who'd shown up to urge the ruling.

What's most exciting to see about this particular effort to legalize urban chickens is how the group Asheville City Chickens was able to leverage social media to mobilize their cause.

In addition to coming up with a cute logo as an identity, the folks (Cathy, Josh, et al) pulled out all the stops in setting up a digital toolbox to rally the troops and equip people to dive in.

Among their social media portfolio:
  • a blog to announce their progress and needs and act as the platform for sharing news
  • a Twitter account (@avlcitychickens) for those bite-sized updates that can mobilize folks away from their computers
  • A Google Sites wiki to facilitate rapid collaboration and editing of content the group created together to press for the change
  • A Facebook group and a Yahoo! group to tap into the already-existing social networks of Asheville citizens and broaden the reach of their messages
  • Online petitions and bumperstickers, too.
Each of these social media tools is powerful in its own right (in the right hands) and to see the Asheville City Chickens group pull them all together in a potent mix of making their voices heard and advocating for change is fantastic.

The best part of all of this effort? All the tools they used are free for anyone to put to work on their own efforts to legalize urban chickens. That's right: the tools are free, you just need to apply effort, just like Clay Shirky has written in his book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (I highly, highly recommend it if you haven't yet read it). It's almost as if the Asheville City Chickens crew used it as their playbook.

Please join me in dropping a quick Tweet of congrats to the Asheville City Chickens crew!

2 comments:

Josh O'Conner said...

Thanks for the love for Asheville City Chickens. Thanks for getting out the word on the process that we used. It was a stab in the dark and an experiment at best, but I think we were all excited to see how many people it allowed to be engaged in the process.

Cathy said...

Going into Tuesday night's city council meeting, we had roughly 300on-line petition signatures, 300 Facebook followers and over 40 Twitter followers. The strength this represented was phenomenal. It was extremely reasurring to see our local indie newspaper following us on Twitter. When our local tv station wanted to interview me the day of the vote, she contacted me through our Facebook page. Josh gets all the credit for creating the great buzz. Just to add, Jenny and I also tabled at our local farmers tailgate markets. We just ordered another 1000 more "We Still Lay" bumper stickers! Hope you'll buy one from our ebay account Josh created! Thanks so much for the kudos. Be on the lookout for our website link to attend our first "Urban Chickens in Asheville" Meet Up next month.
Via con Huevos everyone!

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