Is an organized NEO citizenry possible?

Advance Northeast Ohio translates the priorities identified by more than 20,000 residents who participated in the Voices & Choices civic engagement program in 2005-06 into a specific set of actions.

 A challenge I face in my work on behalf of Advance Northeast Ohio is engaging the citizens of the region in the work required to implement the many initiatives that make up our action plan and are designed to address the priorities identified by the public.  Our partners in the region’s economic action plan are a diverse group of organizations, but none specialize in citizen engagement – particularly on a regional level. And ultimately, it is the residents of Northeast Ohio – not a governmental entity or some other organization – that will drive the change needed to build a brighter future for the region.

 I am starting this blog for the purpose of initiating dialogue with citizen leaders about mobilizing and organizing the citizenry to lead and drive change in Northeast Ohio. This blog will highlight examples of citizen-led change throughout region and the world. And it will serve, I hope, as a place for people to share ideas and form new networks.

 I hope you will join the conversation and help organize the citizen voice – or better yet, I hope you will meet other motivated citizen leaders through this blog and unite to work together to push forward regional initiatives that will strengthen Northeast Ohio.



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Tue, 04/01/2008 – 11:32 — George Nemeth (not verified)


Ah. The big day we talked about a while ago. Good luck and let me know what I can do to help…

Wed, 04/02/2008 – 09:03 — laurasteinbrink

Help spread the word


Yes, the big day arrived.  I posted my first blog.  Its thilling to be an active participant of this online community. 

I am eager to leverage this tool to encourage more adoption of regional behavior – regional action – by our fellow citizens, leaders, communities and organizations.  In considering this I wonder where we are as a community in the adoption cycle of chance.  Do you know the book, Crossing the Chasm?  I talks about 5 types of change adopters — innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards — and I wonder what you all (the blogers) think is the best way to use blogs to reach all 5 change adopters (or is it a fundamentally flawed hypothesis that blogs would reach all 5?).  What other tools do we need to do this work together as a community (online and face to face)?  Can you help me answer those questions by spreading the word?

Laura Steinbrink Director, Regional Partnerships [email protected]

Thu, 04/03/2008 – 12:40 — Arnold L. Johnson (not verified)

attack ideas

I am not a big organization buff because they tend to focus on one thing at the expense of another. Umbrella orgs might be good for all of northeast Ohio but I think folks like to see more of what is happening in their neck of the woods. I was looking at the site They receive news from all over the world. But what sells in California or Calcutta probably won’t impress anybody in Lorain, except to move there. The stick in the eye is that we have so many smaller, tightly focused local orgs who don’t have the same vision. Cleveland had an eco-village plan at one time for a neighborhood. I don’t know what became of that or how serious they were in doing that. Lorain as a smaller city could easily accommodate such a plan. I think we here need to have some new and renovation green projects in the town. Our housing stock is older and can use the uplift. The local contractors and vocational schools and colleges can get involved. The innovations can be monitored and all can see and comment on the progress and learn about green energy. You create a market by actually using the technology in hands of the local people. Put it on their homes, in their cars and in their daily living. As far as blogging goes maybe encouraging the use of official city web sites like and and and posting videos of progress. Area web sites should link to each other, cross pollinate each other with ideas and conversation. The change adopters is funny, I like to think we are re-living a rut. An awful lot of green stuff was pioneered by hippies and radicals of the 60’s, it then was illegal and risky to get off the grid. Most today seem to be waiting for an energy utility to offer a service and just pay to get it. We are spending too much time trying to make this green thing legal and a money maker for folks already handling our energy needs. So how do you wean everybody off the old stuff and at the same time introduce and promote the new stuff, with old infrastructure and slow changing utility companies? The radical choice may have to be a preferred option or utility companies need to get a move on. Here are some good ideas: The Home and Flower Show should result in green model homes in average not well to do neighborhoods. Also that Home Makeover Show or Habitat for Humanity program could produce green homes in local neighborhoods.

Fri, 04/04/2008 – 11:01 — georgenemeth

3 out of 5

I think it’s possible that some blogs are reaching into the early majority now. It really depends on the blog. I think your social network connect further, and if you invite people to participate here, they may.
George’s blog Brewed Fresh Daily is here.

Fri, 04/04/2008 – 11:12 — Christina Klenotic (not verified)

Cleveland Heights example of organized citizen effort

Cleveland Heights has started its own citizen-populated publication, Heights Observer,, as a means to engage and connect residents with community stakeholders. It’s a new project that’s generating some buzz.

Fri, 04/04/2008 – 11:40 — laurasteinbrink

Observers see each other?

Hi Christina and George and Arnold.

Its great to hear from all of you .  Thanks for your replies and suggestions.  George, great thought on leveraging the social networks – maybe this a good use of my linkedin group.  I need to get to work on that next.

Christina, I’ve made a link live on your reply on this blog so people can get to your site.  Also, I found the Lakewood Observer, and notice that your site and it are very similar.  Are you naturally connected some way, or is there an introduction needing to happen here?  Are there even more like this already?

Arnold, I’m about to go meet Mike Gesing to talk about regional news bureaus.  Have you all chatted with him lately about how to light up that idea?  I know we need it, and he and I are working on the model now…

Fri, 04/04/2008 – 13:32 — Heidi Cool (not verified)

Spreading the word

I think at least all but the extreme laggards are online somewhere. The question is where to find them. I’d focus this not only on the adoption cycle (Are innovators and early adopters on Twitter, Pownce Jaiku and other social media sites while laggards use standard Web pages?) but also on your topical niche. There may be laggards online who are reading blogs and joining discussions but haven’t differentiated between blogs and regular Web sites. They don’t care what they are using as long as they find what interests them. So I’d strive to figure out where your target audience is gathering on a topical basis no matter tools they may use.

As George has shown through Brewed Fresh Daily, blogs have powerful reach, especially when you start connecting them through comments and cross-links.

I’ve written two posts that may give you some more ideas:

Good Luck! (p.s. I discovered this on Pownce through a post George presumably made to both Twitter and Pownce)

Author: advance759