February 26, 2010

The power of social media: You can make a difference

Do you remember the successful campaign involving [yellow tail] wine a couple of weeks ago?

The effort was successfully repeated this week (see below).

The initial campaign started when a group of agvocates launched a public campaign to convince [yellow tail] to end its support of the animal rights group known as the Humane Society of the United States. (Do not confuse HSUS with your local shelter or humane society. The two are not at all related. Want to know more? click here and here and here and here. And those are just from the last week!)

The focus of the effort involved social media - blogs, commenting on the [yellow tail] Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube and an anti-[yellow tail] Facebook page. Because [yellow tail] took a while before agreeing to never again provide money to HSUS, the campaign went on for some time - and eventually traditional media got involved. A good recap of the grassroots effort can be found here. (For The CobSquad's video, click here.)

After realizing that the agvocates would not stop - and perhaps learning a bit more about HSUS and what it really does - [yellow tail] agreed that would never again donate money to HSUS and would also not continue with a planned in-store promotion with the organization.

Grassroots wins!
A second effort by agvocates came just this week against Pilot Travel Centers (@pilottravel on Twitter and on Facebook). Apparently it too, was sucked in by HSUS and kept HSUS donation jars in its facilities. But not any more.

A couple of days of commenting on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and even phone calls to travel centers by farmers and ranchers and Pilot agreed to end the support - see its statement.

Ray Prock Jr., a dairy producer from California, said it best in this tweet: Ag's learning that if many voices speak together as 1 voice the message gets louder & cannot be ignored.

I would surmise that HSUS is not pleased that it is 0 for 2 in the last two weeks. In fact, it even accused the efforts of thousands of individuals as being organized by "factory farming interests." But that is their biggest failing (among many!). They don't yet fully understand that social media is being harnessed by farmers and ranchers across the country. Farmers can (and are) speaking for themselves. (Is HSUS starting to feel the pressure? It kicked a person out of open meeting just today, as noted here.)

HSUS - and others - are learning that farmers can organize themselves and stand side-by-side for a common cause. The game has changed.

If you don't believe that, just ask [yellow tail] and Pilot.

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