09/14/2010 03:02 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Third World Interactive: Let the Voting and the Meetups Begin!

It's time to take our idea of crowdsourcing part of my book tour to the next level: having you decide where I should go to talk about the issues contributing to our country's slow slide into Third World America, and the practical steps we each can take to help one another through the hard times and strengthen our communities.

Over 200 people wrote in to suggest their group, school, or community organization as a place I should add to my tour schedule. We have winnowed these down to 15 finalists, featured in the slideshow below. Now it's up to you to pick the winners. Vote for your favorite -- and share your picks with your friends; see if they choose the same venue as you.

On HuffPost's Third World America section, we talk about the 7 steps you can take right now to stop America from becoming a Third World nation. The first step is to share your story, so we are really grateful to everyone who sent in a submission, and I really look forward to meeting with the groups our community picks -- and discussing what we can do to rebuild the middle class and restore the American Dream.

And since I won't be able to personally visit each of the groups that wrote in, we will be hosting a webcast at 8:30 pm ET on Wednesday, October 6. People can log in to discuss the problems facing America's beleaguered middle class -- and the steps we can all take to turn things around. Anyone with an Internet connection can join the event -- but we think the best way to be a part of it is to host or sign up for a HuffPost Meetup:

Whether it's two people meeting for coffee or 50 people having a house party, nothing beats an old-fashioned face-to-face conversation when it comes to making a connection. So whether you're facing adversity as a result of the economic crisis or want to help those who are, the first step is finding each other. Click on the Meetup tool above to find a HuffPost Meetup near you -- or start a new one.

Join us on October 6 -- then continue the conversation with regular Meetups. For the webcast event, we will be sending Third World America packets -- including a signed copy of the book -- to the top 25 Meetups to help fuel the discussion. I'll be taking questions that night live via Skype, but you can also post questions in the comment section below. I look forward to "meeting up" with you all on October 6th.

So vote for the place I should add to my schedule... and sign up to host or join a HuffPost Meetup in your community.


Arianna's Crowdsourced Book Tour: FINALISTS