Community building plus an in-the-know local city guide delivered with down-home charm on a social media platform: Welcome to the New South, y’all.
Facebook page Chattanooga Y’all, which as a concept was founded in May 2011 and created on the social network in April 2012, is the brainchild of three Chattanooga natives who, like so many in their generation, spent time away from the Scenic City before returning home to contribute to Chattanooga’s renaissance.
Ashlee Owens, Andrew Gallo and Charlotte Boyd met at Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts in middle school. Owens lived in New York City and Los Angeles after high school graduation, while Gallo also trekked out west for a Los Angeles sojourn. Boyd recently relocated to San Francisco but remains involved in the page’s operations.
“Chattanooga Y’all was born out of our love for this city,” said the team. “We chose the endearing term ‘y’all’ not only because it’s native to the South, but also because of its all-inclusive nature.”
Documenting post by post
The Facebook page emerged from a desire to focus the sometimes-overwhelming breadth of cultural events happening in Chattanooga from the more well-known festivals—Chatty Crafty, the Head of the Hooch and RiverRocks, among others—to the lesser publicized happenings going on every day.
—634: The number of likes Chattanooga Y'all has
—Most recent post: Spotlight on the Holiday Starlight Parade
—First post: The inspiration announcement, "It's nearly time, friends. Get in where you fit in."
The team cautions that although they are by name explicitly inclusive and open to giving smaller events a shout out, the page is geared toward a younger and young at heart demographic. In other words, the three do carefully consider their content and intend that content to be a refined, perhaps even select, calendar.
Posts have included stories from local media outlets and Facebook events created by businesses and other organizations, as well as original posts. The scope covers but is not limited to art exhibits, fundraisers, live music, local attractions and shop-local campaigns.
“We love to champion small business and locally produced events and encourage those that need an extra PR boost to contact us directly,” the team said. “It’s about community building and bringing Chattanooga natives and transplants in on the fun, inspiration, motivation, cultivation.”
Chattanooga Y’all also functions as an event planner. The team organized this year’s May Day Party at the Public House/Social in Warehouse Row. Based on its success, they’ve been asked to orchestrate the restaurant and bar’s New Year’s Eve bash.
The as yet finalized details are as follows: $10 admission buys you a midnight champagne toast and buffet featuring a slew of Public House menu favorites, hours of DJ'd beats and a photo booth “unlike any Chattanooga has ever seen.”
The Southeast and beyond
The team is prepping to launch a Chattanooga Y’all website. Their vision for the additional online presence is to pair the city guide function of the Facebook page with a venue for locally based and progressive journalism.
There is also an interest in long-term branding with similar Facebook setups in other cities experiencing the same kind of growth as Chattanooga. The team points to Murfreesboro and, in a sky’s-the-limit line of thought, even across the pond to international cities like London.
“We hope to unify the sense of community that is Chattanooga,” said the team. “Freethinkers, entrepreneurs and good ol’ boys alike, Chattanooga Y’all is about what our town is and what it can be.”
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