Monday, October 06, 2008

Cleveburgh Connectivity

Janko spreads the word about a new reading series held in Youngstown:

The first installment of the YSU-Ytown Reading Series will be held at Monday October 6th starting at 7PM at Cedars Cafe downtown - and will continue on the first Monday of every month.

Featuring authors from the Youngstown/Cleveland/Pittsburgh corridor, as well as the rest of the nation - after each featured reader, the mic will be open for local poets and writers to share their words as well.

This type of gathering will help build a Cleveburgh identity for residents of Youngstown. I'd like to see local events that are even more explicitly Cleveburgh-centric. I'm inclined to think that Youngstown could easily assume a leadership role in furthering this economic corridor, if it so chooses.

Since the Rust Belt Bloggers Summit in Erie in July, I've been thinking about what bloggers might do to promote Cleveburgh. Networked bloggers are an effective means of knowledge production and advances in media technologies can extend the reach of distance-trust (see Benedict Anderson's book, Imagined Communities). We can imagine Cleveburgh, but social media is what brings the mythical landscape to life.

To riff off of Anderson, bloggers can generate a shared sense of pain (what is bad for you is also bad for me) and a common understanding of the events that shape our lives. On advice from Janko, I started watching Fareed Zakaria's show on CNN. I'm thankful for the introduction. The interview with Bill Gates was rivetting. The roundtable discussion with foreign policy experts from Asia was illuminating.

Imagine our own Cleveburgh (or Rust Belt) blogger roundtable distilling this week's show. What bloggers do well is consume media and then localize the information. For example, Bill Gates made an important analogy when discussing the current state of the economy: Jobs are not so much going overseas as they are disappearing thanks to innovation, a la what has happened to agriculture over time in the United States. The number of people working on farms has dramatically declined, but the US still exports food. The same is true for manufacturing. Productivity is sustained with less labor. That's an important story for Cleveburgh residents to understand when considering what to do in order to improve the region.

I propose that interested bloggers should devote a Monday post to Zakaria's show. How can we better connect Cleveburgh or the Rust Belt to what is going on in the world?

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