Asheville’s Girl Scout cookie saga: How one local scout’s story went national (A Twitter Report)

It started when Newsweek ran a story about Wild Freeborn getting into trouble with Girl Scout officials for using the Web to try to sell 12,000 boxes of cookies. The Web-media notoriety was immediately followed by CNN calling for info and then The Today Show inviting her to be on their program. After that came MSNBC and Fox News.

Here’s how the story unfolded over three days, as reported by various observers as well as papa Bryan Freeborn — using Twitter, on Xpress’ MXNOW local news from citizen reports.

Day One: March 11
fobes: Girl Scout cookies crumble online: Fracas in AVL goes ntl RT @topfloorstudio: Wild Freeborn leads Newsweek story 10:40 AM
edgymama: Local girl scout in Newsweek: 11:04 AM
RT @topfloorstudio: @bryanfreeborn is talking to CNN about AVL’s Girl Scout cookie online-sales food fight 1:38 PM
RT @AshleySue: Wild Freeborn & her AVL Girl Scout cookie sales have generated 645 comments on NEWSWEEK as of 5pm 5:24 PM
RT @dulcitalove: Girl Scout Cookies sales soar w/ social networking in Asheville: Info @topfloorstudio 5:29 PM

Day Two: March 12
RT @BryanFreeborn: apparently my daughter’s story was discussed on the Today show 10:52 AM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Wild & I flying up 2 NYC for Today Show. 1:31 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn: We had to bump CNN for Today Show,but may still be able to squeeze them in after.This is crazy! 2:20 PM
fobes:Freeborns on Today Show tomorrow 8am. RT @BryanFreeborn: Sounds like we will also be doing MSNBC while in bldg 2:49 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn: At AVL airprt.Wild & I heading to NYC for jam packed a.m. of TV appearances.She is loving it 6:38 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Wild is a champ running acrss airprt to make flight as doors were closng.NYC here we come 8:39 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Car service and everything!—Good work NBC. 10:55 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn: First trip to NYC for Wild. Her eyes are so big. 11:11 PM

Day Three: March 12
RT @BryanFreeborn: In the green room @todayshow A 7:30 AM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Out of make-up & hanging w/the ladies from GS 7:45 AM
@mvwilliams: Wild Freeborn & dad Bryan on TODAY show talking about online Girl Scout cookie sales. 8:24 AM
@mvwilliams: Girl Scout rep says online sales is “an infraction,” & “it’s all about safety.” Freeborn: “We weren’t out to test boundaries.” 8:25 AM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Done with today show. In car on the way to CNN 8:30 AM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Just finished at cnn 9:05 AM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Wild selling out of the cookies she brought 9:20 AM
RT @BryanFreeborn: CNN atlanta wants us down there for tomorrow night 9:37 AM
RT @topfloorstudio: @juneallison we will have a web ready version of the Today show to post by end of day. 10:00 AM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Now fox news wants to get some cookies 10:58 AM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Eating lunch then heading over to fox news. After that ice skating and a toy store 12:10 PM
fobes: @topfloorstudio reports that Freeborn just got off Fox News and AOL Food is trying to reach him. 2:14 PM
fobes: No-nonsense AP says Freeborns’ plan is crumbling;scout offcials oppose it RT @AshevilleLive 2:33 PM
RT @mushcreek: MSNBC coverage of Wild Freeborn at 3:23 PM
RT @AshevilleLive:RT @SunSpots_Tom: Wild Freeborn on CNN re removal of YouTube GirlScoutcookie video 3:27 PM
RT @AshevilleLive:Wild on Nwswk: 3:30 PM
RT @topfloorstudio: Wild is in New York Times >> 3:33 PM
fobes: NYT story is nothing but the 135-word AP story. 4:35 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Walking thru Time Square people stopped to tell Wild how good she did & how much they love her idea 4:36 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn:In car headng 2 airprt.Glad 2 be headng home.Wild ready 2 b back; says no more interviews for a week. 4:45 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn: 1 more leg of our trip home. Wild worn out. What a trooper. If only the flight would leave on time 11:24 PM
RT @BryanFreeborn: Back in avl with a sleeping beauty. 11:45 PM

About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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2 thoughts on “Asheville’s Girl Scout cookie saga: How one local scout’s story went national (A Twitter Report)

  1. I watched the TODAY show video at SH.

    I found the arguments of the Girl Scout rep, Denise Pesich, to be weak and ultimately unconvincing (what is a “developing technological platform that is fair and equitable”?).

    Ms. Pesich stated that her highest concern was “girl safety” and that door-to-door salesgirls were accompanied by an adult. However, she failed to show how online marketing lacked that element and only speculated that in some cases it might. Hence the determination that selling Girl Scout cookies online is merely an “infraction.”

    Let’s see if the organization is capable now of changing its policy once it has been demonstrated that it is a bad one, that it contradicts the stated goal, and that it does not serve the best interests of its members.

    The objective, at the urging of the Girl Scouts, is to sell cookies, legally, ethically and aggressively. Wild is pursuing that objective within those bounds and has been “wildly” successful. She is also properly pursuing her own self-interest, which is to see her troop win the competition. I expect Wild to reach her objective and become a hero to her peers. Bravo. Go Wild!

  2. Jason Sandford

    This tweet by TopFloorStudio on March 9 gave a hint of things to come:

    An important National weekly called to talk about TopFloor Technology and Girlscout Cookies. Should GS embrace the future? @BryanFreeborn
    7:52 AM Mar 9th from twhirl

    I’m always fascinated by how national media picks up on local stories. Once Newsweek wrote its piece, it was on. But how did Newsweek find the story of Wild and her cookie cause? Not sure… it was blogged, facebooked and everything else. I’ll go out on a limb and give Mountain Xpress credit for being the first news outlet to write a story about Wild (in January):

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