“I’m the fourth generation living here at the beach, and I have two young kids I want to raise here. When I found out that the oil might make it’s way over here, I just had this feeling like, ‘not if I can do anything to help it’. Then I chose Facebook because it was free, simple and an easy way to connect with people here.” -Erin Rodriguez, founder of Protect Our Beach!
Created only a few weeks ago in the beginning of June, Protect Our Beach (or P.O.B. for short) already has over 100 followers.
It was created by Atlantic Beach native Erin Rodriguez, who couldn’t find any local response to the oil spill.
Since creating the group, she has kept members informed about the three Beach’s (Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach) response plan, should oil reach our shores.
She found this information after emailing city officials to let them know about the formation of the group. They have thanked her for her offer of help should the need arise, and passed her name onto those who will be dealing more closely with any outreach into the community.
After forming the group, and enlisting followers, she was able to publicize an event, Hands Across the Sand in partnership with The Ripple Effect Group. They posted about the event on June 24, and the actual event was held at noon on June 26.
Hands Across the Sand.
In spite of short notice, the event drew 300 people, Protect Our Beach! was able to raise local awareness through social media such as Facebook, as well as conventional tactics.
Click on the above link to watch a video on the event. In it you will see P.O.B. members interviewed.
Going to local beach businesses to tell them about the group forming, and many asked if they could display the flyer in their window.
One such business even provided tea for the participants in Hands Across the Sand.
The group is now planning a possible beach clean-up for July 5, an event which will also be somewhat impromptu, and Erin Rodriguez says they will once again rely on the speedy nature of social media to help them pull together the event, as well as the cooperation of local businesses and word of mouth.
This group is a great lesson on how conventional tactics and the speed and accessibility of social media can work together to get things done.
And that’s the story of Protect Our Beach, a social media driven movement!
Photos on slides 5, 6, & 8 courtesy of Danielle Dressell.