project leader
Sam S
Online Public Square
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the project

TheCLE.Land is an all inclusive community social media and news aggregator platform that centers around Cleveland as its common interest. Existing social media platforms do not promote productive social interactions between individuals and make it difficult for people to connect with their local community. Existing area news and event sites have limited coverage that is scattered across a number of sites, and their platforms make community participation and feedback difficult. TheCLE.Land will be a piece of public social infrastructure where residents and visitors alike can connect with other Clevelanders, stay up to date with all the different things going on in the area, and improve their quality of life by fostering real life social connections and civic engagement with local communities.


Public Good

TheCLE.Land is providing its services as a public good for the benefit of all people. That means that no person or group can be prevented from accessing the services provided. In other words, free and open access to people of all walks of life. The classic example of a public good is knowledge itself, but there are other examples examples such as the library that provides educational materials as a public good or the Cleveland Museum of Art that provides culture as a public good. With this platform we can enable more people in our city to have equitable access to engage with their community.


TheCLE.Land utilizes public funding so that the public's health and well-being is the singular mission. While many existing social media platforms are nominally free to users, that hides an important part of how the platforms operate and turn a profit. As the saying goes: "if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product." The most dominant platforms currently generate profit from serving advertisements and/or selling user data to 3rd parties, and this incentives them to exploit their users through the design of addictive algorithms that generate anger to boost engagement and watch time. By removing the profit motive, and having funding come from the community itself, we can prioritize the health and well-being of users.

Third Space

TheCLE.Land is a place outside of home and work where people from different backgrounds can interact with familiar people and make new acquaintances. This way we can bridge connections across diverse cross sections of the city through casual and playful conversations in an accessible setting. This is essential in building social capital in communities and helping people feel welcomed to participate in civic and social life. This public space will serve as a complement to physical third spaces that already exist in our communities by enabling people to stay connected and informed about their community activities and issues.

Cleveland Focused

TheCLE.Land is locally focused, so local voices will be easier to find and amplify since they don't have to directly compete against a torrent from the wider internet. Similarly, this will also encourage a tighter knit community that has a common place based Cleveland interest that can act as a foundation to build bridging social capital across the many other diverse backgrounds in our communities.


The site has standard social media functions like a feed/timeline of posts, the ability to follow accounts, and forums, but it also has more advanced features like custom timeline filters and even the ability to create personalized interactive web pages. Citizens and organizations alike can post information on current events/issues/news in the community, and they can also participate in active civil discourse on the topics that interest them. In its totality, it can be the hub for city information and connection by bridging the various voices throughout the city, citizen and organization alike, that want to get their message out but are currently siloed across different platforms.

the steps

Moderation Team

Creation of moderation team to verify new users and address reports of problematic content (now)


Connect more citizens and organizations through outreach and promotion to inform more people of the platform and encourage them to participate (next several months)

Platform Improvements

Use feedback from users to modify the platform to better serve community needs (ongoing)

why we're doing it

Several months ago when I moved back to Cleveland after college I wanted to get more involved with the local community: civic activism, social events, special interest groups. Because of Cleveland's small town feel this is much easier than in larger cities, but discovering and staying in touch with different groups and activities has been challenging. Information sources are scattered across a number of proprietary and closed systems. If you aren't already in a community it can be hard to discover and break into it. This encourages people to simply check out of social and civic life when they don't have anyone pulling them to stay involved or ease of access to the tools to stay connected.

In spite of one of its original goals to connect people, the internet in its modern incarnation has contributed, in concert with other trends, to the further atomization of society. Organizations like religious groups and social clubs have waned in their importance to daily life, and while internet use is one of the activities that have filled that time, it has not fulfilled the same needs. According to Metro Health, in a study of 86,716 participants on the social determinants of health, 92% of people had at least 'some risk' of negative health outcomes due to poor social connection, and 47% were fully 'at risk' of negative health outcomes. This is one of the largest contributing factors to lower quality of life and indirectly, length of life in the Cleveland metropolitan area. With TheCLE.Land I want to reinvigorate the social and civic activities in our communities by complementing in person places that have difficulty reaching everyone in the modern world.


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $424
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Infrastructure - $300

Moderation Team - $2500

Engagement/Advertising - $5000


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