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Tuesday, 23 April 2019 09:54 pm

Facebook’s influential in Christchurch Women’s March


Social media was a powerful tool in the success of the Christchurch Women’s March at the weekend, with about 500 attending just a week after it was announced.

Word spread quickly through social media networks once the Facebook event was created on Monday.

Beth Lenihan (left) Amy Gregory and Bianca Hearfield organised the Christchurch march

“We had a week and we didn’t really have any proper PR or social media strategy but people heard about it and they wanted to come, ” says Bianca Hearfield one of three organisers.

Friends Amy Gregory and Beth Lenihan bumped into each other at the beach on Sunday and decided that they needed to make the Christchurch march happen after seeing there were marches planned in Wellington and Auckland.

When they contacted the New Zealand organisers they were given Hearfield’s name as someone who was also keen to see the march take place.

“I was literally sitting on my bed in Auckland thinking what a shame nothing is happening in Christchurch.

“There was this other little voice that said ‘there’s nothing happening yet, sister’, and so we were all able to come together and make it happen in a week,” says Hearfield.

Mary McCance heard about the march on Facebook and a friend in Queenstown was inspired to get involved too.

“It’s sort of more informal but she’s down there so she’s gone ahead and organised something through social media, ” says McCance.

Jessy Bradish with the pussy hat her Grandma knitted her

American Jessy Bradish was holidaying in New Zealand and realised that she was going to miss the march in California.

Wearing a pussy hat knitted by her grandma and knowing her mum would be marching in Washington, Bradish was prepared to make her own statement in Christchurch.

“I thought I’d be marching around with my hat by myself so I could take a picture for my grandma and suddenly here I couldn’t believe they got, what, 500 people in a week.”

The march, which began in Victoria Square, made its way past the Kate Sheppard Memorial and finished at Cathedral Square.

It was part of the Global Women’s March movement which saw more than 60 countries involved.

It all began with a single Facebook post from Teresa Shook, a concerned grandmother in Hawaii in response to Donald Trump’s victory in the race for President of the United States.

Hashtags were used to spread the word on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms.

Organisers of the Global Network of marches used the Slack app to communicate and coordinate the various marches across all seven continents.

A livestream was created using BlueJeans, an app that is normally used for video conferencing.

This was modified so that a livestream of every march around the world could be fed through a Facebook live video on the main page for the Women’s March on Washington.

Social media has been flooded with images, videos and livestreams of people marching throughout since the first marches began in New Zealand on Saturday.

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