Black Friday Creep On Thanksgiving Spurs Social Media Protests

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — First it was Target — then Best Buy — the subject of online petitions to roll back Black Friday store openings from midnight to early morning to avoid infringing on Thanksgiving.

“With the feedback of everyone who works around me, we had to do something, and I just took the lead on that,” Rick Melaragni, of Tampa, Florida, said.

Rick Melaragani, a Best Buy employee in Tampa, used the fast-growing website Change.org to launch his petition.

Social media is the latest way to send messages to big corporations – used successfully against Bank of America which rescinded its $5 a month debit card fee.

Carnegie Mellon professor Ari Lightman studies social media.

“There are multiple cases of where folks have gotten together online, banded together around policies they don’t agree with, and affected change,” Lightman said.

Unhappiness at Black Friday start times is directed at stores with early openings that disrupt Thanksgiving celebrations for employees and consumers alike.

“It has inspired over 50 other copy-cat campaigns on change.org,” Brianna Cayo Cotter of change.org, said.

While social media like Facebook, Twitter and change.dot.org may attract thousands of people to petition drives lives this, it really doesn’t hit the corporate boardrooms until the mainstream media makes it a story.

“That adds a lot of legitimacy. It also adds a whole new dynamic in terms of the audience that they’re reaching,” Lightman said.

An audience that can change unpopular practices.

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