This Thanksgiving, Really Thankful for Virtual Friends

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

As time ticks off on Thanksgiving 2014, I can reflect and be thankful for many things this last weekend of November. Yes, there’s health, family, work and our home.

(Must also make a special shout out to my sister-in-law’s outstanding herb dinner rolls served Thursday as part of an outstanding Thanksgiving meal.)

And of course, friends.

But thanks to our brave new digital world, I have friends beyond those who I’ve met in person and enjoyed time in each others presence.  I’m referring to virtual friends.

Hey, for many of us adults, virtual friends also are important.

Hey, for many of us adults, virtual friends also are important.

I trust those of us who have embraced digital communications have “friends” or people (hopefully not robots) they communicate with regularly. These virtual friends — rest assured I won’t try to fabricate and use some silly made up word like “virtuends” — can be f0ound through social media or perhaps through a common interest.

Here are two of my virtual friends. I’ll just use their first names to protect their privacy.

  • Debbie, who’s retired, loves football and starts most days with an uplifting Facebook post. She also is fond of a gourmet blend of coffee, participates in an online radio show and is always quick to respond to my Facebook commentary with a positive message. How we became virtual friends: Through a now defunct social media site.
  • Elena is a communications professional, a very good and
    Wonder what my virtual friends would like for the holidays?

    Wonder what my virtual friends would like for the holidays?

    successful one. She’s earned industry honors, writes fiction, manages on of the most popular communications blogs and is a leader within her market. I’ve been honored to serve as a an unpaid “consultant” for one of Elena’s recent works of fiction. How we became virtual friends: I contributed content to Elena’s blog.

Things can be fleeting in life, especially in the virtual world.  But I hope my virtual friends will be around for a long, long time.

Better yet, I hope someday we’ll get to be friends the old-fashioned way — in person.

Fixies, Tats and Fedoras: In Search of Hipsters, Part 2

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Last time, we reported on primary research conducted to better define the urban creature known as The Hipster.

In this post, The PRDude offers followers insight as to where to find Hipsters in his rapidly gentrifying Avondale neighborhood and surrounding communities like Logan Square, and what’s perhaps the epicenter of hipsterism — Wicker Park/Bucktown.

Not sure, but there’s probably an app — or someone is developing one right now — that will let users identify venues of hipsterism in major metro markets around the nation.  Or, just do it the old-fashioned way and search for Chicago “hipsters” on Foursquare.

Otherwise, if hipster hunting, here are three sure-fire places you’ll fine them:

Longman & Eagle, perhaps the most "hipster" of hipster eateries. Yes, those are fixies parked in front.

Longman & Eagle, perhaps the most “hipster” of hipster eateries. Yes, those are fixies parked in front.

Eateries. Yes, most people call them “restaurants.”  But some how, “eateries” has more hipster panache.  Look for eateries with single-syllable names, especially those that have nothing even remotely related to food.  Establishments with ampersands in the name are common hipster gathering spots, and a telltale trait is the line to get a table.  As far as type of cuisine, hipsters are not very choosy: As long as the food costs more than it should and bone marrow — in several forms — is on the menu.

Craft Cocktail Lounges. The companion to hipster restaurants,

This may look like any upscale tavern; but this is the interior of Billy Sunday, a certified hipster craft cocktail lounge.

This may look like any upscale tavern; but this is the interior of Billy Sunday, a certified hipster craft cocktail lounge.

craft cocktail lounges (don’t call them “bars” or “taverns”) serve cocktails that truly are out of the ordinary.  Ingredients along the back bar include Sac’Resine, Blackstrap Rhubarb Bitters, Milanese Fernet and other stuff only a handful of people on earth truly can comprehend.  You’ll know you’re in an authentic hipster craft bar — I mean lounge — if the bartender — I mean mixologist — is bearded, has sleeve tats on both arms and wears a vest; and if your cocktail averages $15.

Milwaukee Avenue. Known by some as “The Hipster Highway,” this diagonal arterial thoroughfare has evolved (or devolved) into a linear microcosm of hipster culture.  One will find the requisite eateries and craft cocktail lounges on or near this North Side street, and there’s always a perennial parade of hipsters on fixies out for adventure. I’ve observed several shops that sell fedoras.

No self-respecting hipster would be caught dead or alive in a K-Mart.

No self-respecting hipster would be caught dead or alive in a K-Mart.

And, from another perspective, here are three places where you probably won’t find Chicago-area hipsters.

  • Schaumburg. Would be hard to ride a fixie on a busy four-lane highway like Golf Road.
  • K-Mart.  It’s possible this national retailer sells hipster staples, including fedoras. But I think the Blue Light Special might be a turnoff.
  • McDonald’s. Yes, there often lines at the world’s largest restaurant, but they move quickly in most cases. Plus hipsters deplore dollar menu items.

This tongue-in-cheek commentary was meant to amuse, as I have no qualms with hipsters. Like other preconceived demographic groups — hippies, preppies, yuppies for instance — they probably don’t exist.

Besides, I’ve never heard of anyone defining themselves as a hipster. Have you?

 

Fixies, Tats and Fedoras: In Search of Hipsters, Part 1

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

As all strategic public relations professionals know, conducting research drives communications plans. Primary research, or the studies you conduct yourself — can and should — offer insight needed to craft a plan that helps realize realistic goals and produce measurable objectives.

For the past several months, The PRDude has been conducting primary Hipster man and womanresearch of sorts into a unique sub-species of human: The urban hipster.

The purpose, of course, is to craft a plan to build greater awareness for and acceptance of hipsters and hipsterism in and around my humble Chicago neighborhood of Avondale and its sister ‘hood, Logan Square.

After extensive study, actually just looking around at people, I’ve identified these three key hipster traits:

1. Fixies. Or, to be precise, a fixed-gear bicycle.  Every self-respecting hipster rides a fixed gear bike, or some derivation thereof.  Breaks, gears and comfort are for nerds. Accoutrements include a stylish messenger bag and helmet color-coordinated to the bike.  Alternatives to the fixie: An Uber or Lyft app on the iPhone 6, Divvy membership and unlimited ride Ventra card.

Hipsters2. Tats. Self-explanatory, but with some provisions.  Hipsters opt for more subtle placement of ink on their bodies, although I’ve witnessed some with a full sleeve.  And never will a hipster let the tattoo artist work on hands or neck; that can hurt, I’ve been told.  As for designs, most prefer stars or other celestial objects and Japanese or Sanskrit messages that translate to phrases like “love, truth and identity.”

3. Fedoras. Every self-respecting hipster dons a fedora at some point during the week, especially when off to dine at restaurants that charge $13 for a bowl of soup and feature entrees made with lots of bone marrow (whatever that is). Why a hat my father once wore has become the de rigueur hipster dress accessory today remains a mystery.  Perhaps a fedora helps hide a premature bald spot better than a baseball cap.

Now kind readers, let me know if my casual research is on target with identifying today’s hipster.  And, watch for Part 2, where I point out some places in the neighborhood where hipsters are known to congregate.

How do I know where to look?  Fixies, tats and fedoras will show me the way.

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Want more on Avondale and Logan Square?  Here are some other posts to consider.