follow you, follow me: the social media mavens we can't get enough of

In Cleveland’s ever-evolving social media community, there is a wide variety of contributors to the civic dialogue. We've complied a list of some of our favorite voices -- a mix of up-and-comers and seasoned vets from different corners of the web who are using their blogs, podcasts and Twitter feeds to give the city a voice.
Gina Prodan and Ryan Kelly, city evangelists and bloggers at Unmiserable Cleveland

Find them at: @unmiserablecle, the web, Facebook and Instagram
After Gina Prodan left Cleveland in 2003, she began blogging about the things that made her want to return. When she eventually did return in 2008, Unmiserable Cleveland bloomed, while Ryan Kelly helmed the Tweeting and Instagramming. “I fell in love with how much my city had grown and how a new generation was taking and making urban living in Cleveland,” says Prodan.
What do you enjoy most about being involved in Cleveland’s social media community?
I love watching others find their voices in the Cleveland conversation; it's not just about a few media outlets telling you where to go and what to think anymore. You have to listen carefully to this conversation to know what's bustling and truly be engaged to keep up. And you build a network of social friends who make sure you're not missing too much.
What’s your favorite local social media read?
I'm a troll on everything Andrew Samtoy posts on Facebook. He and Dan Moulthrop are my official "kings of conversation." If they're reading it, I feel like I should too.
What’s your most “Cleveland” post?
Opening Day is always the best post of the year. It's spring, it's a new baseball season, the NFL draft is on the horizon, there's lots of beer. So we spend some time figuring out which scene to appropriate from Major League for the posts. Our love for the movie is a testament to the hidden-just-below-the-surface optimism we have about this city's future. 

Stephanie Sheldon, entrepreneurial innovator and founder of the Cleveland Flea

Find her at: @clevelandflea, Facebook and Twitter
Through her work with Indie Foundry and The Cleveland Flea, Sheldon has been responsible for some of the most captivating snapshots of the city’s handmade and independent business community through Facebook and Twitter. Her blog-based Maker Series goes even deeper to tell the stories behind creative entrepreneurship.
“I'm out there in social media to get people to rethink what a wedding, or a pop-up restaurant experience, or a flea market can be. I like to challenge conventions and do things in a really quality way.”
What motivates you?
I love transforming space, but I also love making people's dreams of owning their own creative businesses a reality. Building community and changing the landscape of our city is what keeps me going.
What’s your next move?
I'm scouting for a location for Indie Foundry's Creative Clubhouse, an event space for creatives that will also be a creative co-work space with tons of resources and community for our members.
Ken Schneck, LGBT correspondent and host of "This Show Is So Gay"

Find him at: @thisshowissogay and Facebook
The "This Show Is So Gay" podcast and its Cleveland-based host Schneck have played host to more than 300 guests. “It quickly became clear that these conversations were about so much more than the guests and infinitely more than the host,” Schneck explains. “We stumbled upon a common thread of individuals figuring out how to use their voice in the most effective way possible to make a difference for their LGBT and ally brothers and sisters.”
What do you hope to achieve through your work?
We’re all about showcasing stories and actions from individuals who you may or may not know. Every single one of the guests we have had on our show is trying to, in their own way, build community.
What motivates you and drives your inspiration?
I think it is so unbelievably important that we all talk about those moments where we're questioning our purpose and be honest that there is always a moment in creating social change where we say, "Why am I doing this?" But that's when you have to remember, "I'm using my voice in a way that is authentic and meaningful to me!" and that re-centering can keep you going.

Megan Poletti, DIY décor aficionado at Rental Revival and host of "Nerd Novice" podcast

Find her at: @meganpoletti, @nerdnovice and @rentalrevival
“Really, if I could just make a career out of talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I would,” jokes Poletti. A musician and audio engineer, Poletti podcasts along with co-host Jim Metzendorf about all things nerdy as one-half of Nerd Novice, and she blogs about her thrifting and DIY adventures at Rental Revival.
What do you hope to achieve through your work?
It’s extremely important for businesses and creative individuals to realize that the future is in new media and social media marketing. Focusing on creative artists and teaching them how to promote their art through the Internet is an angle I'd love to take.
What keeps you going?
I have a blogging tribe that I am a part of and those girls are good friends of mine! That’s what makes the Internet awesome -- you can find and befriend like-minded people who want to work together towards common goals. 

Margaret Bernstein, journalist, author, mentoring advocate

Find her at: @margbern
Urged by managers to take to Twitter during her 20 years at the Plain Dealer, author and journalist Bernstein became fascinated with the platform’s ability to connect activists. Since being laid off, she’s become a leader in the city for her outspoken advocacy for mentoring, literacy and parent engagement. She also blogs for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
What do you hope to achieve through your work?
I spend a lot of time shouting out quality volunteer opportunities and I love it when followers and friends take that important step of deciding to get involved. I’ve been a Big Sister since I moved to Cleveland in 1989, and I firmly believe that every kid deserves a mentor. It’s funny, my fingers are so used to typing #mentoring that I naturally put a hashtag in front of it now, even when I’m not tweeting.
What’s your favorite thing about Cleveland social media?
Pharrell, where you been? In Cleveland, we’ve been hashtagging #happyincle for a couple years now. We behave like a community of friends, even though we don’t necessarily know each other. Twitter is an instant way to find the people who are passionate about improving this city. People are constantly “conversating” on social media; I’m on a mission to make those conversations more meaningful.

Alex Kelly, artist, comedy enthusiast and creator of the Sketched Comedy project

Find him at: @SketchedComedy and Instagram
Sketched Comedy was born when artist Alex Kelly started drawing a portrait of one comedian per day. You can find him posting regularly on Instagram and interacting with the comedy world on Twitter, and Kelly regularly collaborates with Cleveland mover and shaker Ramon Rivas to create posters for touring stand-up acts.
“What people find funny or provocative really tells a lot about the social climate of any given generation or community,” says Kelly. “It makes comedians cultural barometers, raconteurs and historians by default.”
What effects do you see by being involved in the local social media community?
There's a certain type of pride Clevelanders have in our home and that really spills over into social media. It’s a kind of unspoken mutual agreement where Clevelanders support each other’s successes in order to combat the hard knocks and negative attention we sometimes get from national media.
What’s your next move?
I'm working on a coffee table book pairing an illustration of a comedian with a short interview about how they view comedy and art, and any connections between the two.
Rachel Lopez, proponent of women in tech and marketing guru at HER Ideas in Motion

Find her at: @racheljoyyyyy, @HERIdeas, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Web developer by day, Lopez also takes the reigns of the marketing efforts for HER Ideas in Motion, a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging girls to pursue careers in tech. HER Ideas serves as a megaphone for women in the industry by sparking conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How did you begin getting your message out through social media?
We were looking for a way to engage with our audience outside of our workshops. Today, social media is the most powerful and effective way to do that. We want the community to know more about how they can participate and play a transformative role in closing the gender gap in technology and we want young girls to follow their dreams, even if those dreams are seemingly unconventional
What’s your next move?
I’m really excited about our Mother/Daughter and Father/Daughter "Hack Days" coming up, where parents can learn to code alongside their girls. We're looking for ways to incorporate more parental involvement in our programs since they play such a huge role in their child’s education and development.

Adam Rosen, vegan epicurean, sports fanatic and blogger at Hold the Pigskin

Find him at: @osuadamr, @holdthepigskin, Twitter and Instagram
Cleveland’s vegan scene is burgeoning in a big way and Rosen decided to give it a twist: tailgating. Rosen’s blog offers local sports quips side-by-side with vegan tailgating recipes, along with an active Twitter and Instagram presence. Veggie sausage maker Field Roast loved the idea so much they’ve asked him to become a regular contributor to their national blog.
How did you get started?
Like any diehard Browns fan, you’re down there in the Muni lot and there’s not a lot of room for vegan anything. I wanted to do something that showcased vegan tailgate food and really pushed the envelope and encourage the spread of vegan tailgates in other cities.
What’s your favorite thing about Cleveland social media?
The social media community here is very passionate about the city. I joined the Cleveland Plus Social Media Advisory Committee two years ago and we meet and talk about how to promote the region. I also love @InTheCLE, which is something that started with the City Advocates program, a part of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

Read more articles by Nikki Delamotte.

Nikki Delamotte is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Diffuser.FM, The Grammys, Cleveland Magazine, Cleveland Scene and others.
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