"Pittsburgh is the home of (name something extraordinary -- like the Digital Research Archive at Pitt, or the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild)"
"Really? I had no idea?"
Sometimes the conversation takes a more predictable turn, like wondering whether Big Ben can find his range or when Jerome will get healthy.
Now if you're in the jazz community here, you know about MCG and MCG Jazz. If you are part of the photo preservation community, you know about Pitt's image archive. But these resources aren't just for aficionados. They're here for the whole community. Most of them (and I've picked only two examples) would like to be better known. Much better known. In a lot of cities around the country, they would be. They would be able to tap into social networks that sustain their reputation via word of mouth. Cities themselves would use them and promote them in a variety of ways.
I post this not (merely) to complain. I post it to promote the idea that all of us who know about these things and participate in them should promote them in other domains of our lives. Use your blog, if you have one; that's an easy thing to do. I posted a note about patent law the other day because changing how patent lawsuits get handled in Pittsburgh is an initiative that needs some visibility in the technology community, not just in law firms. Since then, I've already had some conversations about making that pitch face-to-face, to tech groups.
There's a lot of foolish, short-sighted activity around Pittsburgh, and that sometimes tends to obscure the good that people do. Make the invisible -- visible.