Chicagosphere

My Final Post on Chicagosphere

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

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This is my final post on Chicagosphere. With the end of February comes the end of my association with ChicagoNow. Blogging here was a wonderful opportunity and at times great fun, and I thank everyone who read my words in these virtual pages.

I remain the longtime scribe of Chicago Carless, my personal blog about life as a non-native Chicagoan. There I'll continue writing about blog and social-media news, as well as other regular topics including the CTA and going carfree, Chicago politics and happenings, living with ADHD, my migration away from Mac OS, and my otherwise crazy life here on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Beginning Monday, March 1st, readers will also be able to find most of my copyrighted content from Chicagosphere cross-posted in the new Blog World channel of Chicago Carless. I invite readers to stop by Carless for a visit, and to continue browsing other interesting blogs from fine ChicagoNow bloggers.

Thanks again. That's all folks!

--Mike Doyle

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Chicago Weekly Aims to Cover Hyde Park

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

chicagoweekly

As major Chicago media increasingly search for inroads into community news on the Internet, some existing sites are doing a good job of covering neighborhood-level news all on their own, especially on the South Side.  One of the them is the Southwest Observer, which I told you about back in October. Another such great, granular news site is the University of Chicago-based Chicago Weekly--an alternative weekly taking on the responsibility of keeping the Presidential first-neighborhood informed.

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"Dear Illinois Broadband Enthusiasts..."

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

wifi icon-thumb-150x139The State of Illinois is crowing about a broadband technology grant that will help few people in northern Illinois who really need affordable choices when it comes to Internet service. Who benefits? That depends on whether you can see Cabrini--or cornfields--out your kitchen window.

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On the Hunt with The Job Stalker

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

the job stalkerLeery of job-coaching sites that over-promise but under-deliver, Chicago job-seeker Brendan Tripp (@btripp) writes ChicagoNow's The Job Stalker, a candid look what it takes to find a job in what we all hope is the tail end of the New Depression.

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Antigone Goes West: A Man, A Dog, A Bike...and 2,000 Miles Towards A New Life

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

starKnow this first: this is the most emotionally compelling blog I've ever read, and perhaps the best. A Chicago writer and pet lover loses his job, gets fed up with the economy, and decides to bike to the Pacific Ocean to promote pet adoption, with his favorite Basset Hound, Antigone, blogging the trip from her doggie trailer. But it's the candid bravery of the human author that shines best as Antigone Goes West.

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Loud Loop Press: Webzine for Chicago's Music Scene

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

loud loop pressRichard Giraldi's Loud Loop Press aims to "amplify Chicago's music scene" over the Internet. By the look of things, Giraldi's doing a pretty good job of it, too.

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The Point of Social Media Is the Social, Not the Media

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

lido's caffee wall of patronsA version of the following entry is cross-posted today on Chicago Carless.

Last month on Chicagosphere, I wrote a popular post about how social media helped save a financially struggling local business. Unfortunately, social media wasn't enough to save a popular Oak Park coffee shop. Lido's Caffé, the home of a longstanding coffee klatsch that germinated on Twitter--my coffee klatsch--succumbed to the ailing economy last week. Yet in the shop's failure is a lesson in online community--and how to translate it to real life.

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How to Help Haiti: Aid Resources on the Web

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

haiti-flag11(Updated 7:27 p.m.) Several fellow Twitterers have been asking today how they can help the victims of yesterday's devastating earthquake in Haiti that leveled the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Here is a list of resources I've found that Chicagoans and anyone else can use to figure out the best way for them to offer indirect and, in some cases, direct aid to people affected by the disaster...

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Track Your Bus over Coffee in Wicker Park/Bucktown

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

wpb kiosks 1WPB, the newly renamed easier to remember name of the Special Service Area tax district that works with the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, is putting CTA bus tracker data to great use in its eponymous twin near-northwest neighborhoods. How about video screens in your favorite local shops and cafes telling you at a glance how long you can linger before heading out to the bus stop? Wicker Park/Bucktown now has a network of them.

Recently, WPB program manager Jamie R. Simone (AICP, LEED APWPB) and Chris Lackner, principal of the PR firm Lackner/Andrews, walked me through the finer points of the video kiosks at Red Hen Bread on Milwaukee Avenue, where one of the screens is located.

The screens grew out of WPB's master plan, completed 18 months ago, which sought to make real-time use of CTA's bus tracker info in the district's service area (find a PDF map of the district's boundaries boundaries here.) Around the same time, digital signage company Redpost approached the chamber to explore the potential to roll out a network of neighborhood video screens to promote local news and carry local advertising.

The two ideas merged in the creation of a pilot network of video kiosks installed in 11 locations along the major shopping and transportation corridors of Milwaukee, Damen, and North avenues. The screens, which went live in November, display a real-time scroll of arrival information for CTA bus routes adjacent or nearby to the establishments in which they're located.

Gallery sneak peek (8 images):

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Snow Removal and a Chicagoan in Montreal

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

Montreal snow removalLast week's allegedly heavy snowfall got me thinking about a couple of things. First, that Chicago meteorologists are way too melodramatic--it's Chicago, it's winter, it snows, we live here, we know that. Second, that maybe there's an even snowier major city that deals better with the white stuff than we do. There is, and a Chicagoan in Montreal tells all about it.

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Is RedEye the "New" CTA Tattler?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

scale6When ChicagoNow debuted in May 2009, Chicagoist called CTA Tattler one of the site's most notable blogs. Predating ChicagoNow by several years, CTA Tattler came with a built-in reputation as the Windy City's go-to online source for transit news. So why for the past several months has RedEye's Going Public column been beating the Tattler at its own game?

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Raise a Cup with the Windy City Wine Guy

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

windycitywineguyIf you thought Chicago's only new media-savvy sommelier was Alpana Singh, think again. Michael Bottigliero, scribe of Windy City Wine Guy, is out to show Chicagoans that the viney beverage is nothing to be feared by the average Midwesterner.

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Depaul Copenhagen Climate Blog a Copout

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

COP-15A class of Depaul University students spent two weeks in December blogging the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (aka COP-15.) The students, under the tutelage of associate public policy professor Hugh Bartling, attempted to explore the dangers of a warming climate--and the politics behind finding a fix. Unfortunately, they spent much of the conference locked out of it.

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Macy's Windows Wonderful or Woeful in 2009?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

steve&amyslyAs a parting shot to Christmas, freelance communications consultant Steve Tanner (@tannerman) and wife Amy take a look at this year's Macy's (née Marshall Field's) State Street holiday windows. Even though Steve's an avowed "Macy's hater", the Tanners find a few things to like in a window display at least better than last year's illuminated vacuum-cleaner hoses.

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Tracking Santa an Accidental Cold-War Christmas Gift

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

noradsantaEver wonder why NORAD tracks the whereabouts of Santa Claus every Christmas Eve? Turns out the internationally popular North American Aerospace Defense Command holiday tradition got started simply because of a careless cold war-era typo.

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Are Tribune Co. & NBC5 Chicago Censoring Local News?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

beachwoodnodateToday, Beachwood Reporter editor & publisher Steve Rhodes announced he was walking away from his paid gig as an NBC5 Chicago news blogger. According to Rhodes, earlier this month NBC5 removed specific posts of his from its local news blog without his knowledge or consent, allegedly due to personal request from upper NBC5 management--and Tribune Company execs.

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Christmas Without a Big Christmas Tree?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

Chirstmas-tree1-225x300ChicagoNow Dirt on Green blogger Mark Boyer asked today whether environmental consequences matter when choosing a Christmas tree. We may kill the environment by choosing PVC-laden artificial trees instead of real ones. But my primary Christmas concern has always been whether my annual tree is so tall that it might kill me.

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Fun Times for Sale on Funsherpa: An Interview with Founder Anton Dy Buncio

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

fs-logoIf you're looking for an unexpected holiday gift this season, you may want to take a look at Funsherpa Chicago.  The former concierge service is now a forum for the public to buy unique "experiences"--aka activity-based gifts. If it's something to do in Chicago, from cooking classes and private chefs to dance lessons and guided tours, chances are there's a supplier on Funsherpa ready to hook you up. Recently I asked Funsherpa founder Anton Dy Buncio about the service...

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Ugly Holiday Sweaters Make for a Warm Community Meetup

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

uglytop2Last night's Ugly Christmas Sweater Holiday Party was a huge success! Organized by Windy Citizen editor & publisher Brad Flora and sponsored by more than two dozen Chicago bloggers (including Chicagosphere and Chicago Carless), almost 100 of you--our readers, friends, loved ones, and fellow bloggers--came out to Black Rock Bar in Roscoe Village on a frigid night.

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New Survey Says Social Media Good for Holiday Business

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

comScore_IncA new survey from comScore this week (reported in TechCrunch) suggests that social media has a positive effect of holiday purchases. Last week, the survey firm asked 425 shoppers nationwide about their buying habits this holiday season. As many as 28% said that social media had affected their purchasing decisions this year, including online product reviews and Facebook and Twitter posts from friends and trusted influencers.

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How to Find Chicago's Christmas Light Displays

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

chicagolandchristmaslightsEver wish there were a website that listed every single holiday lights display in Chicago and the Chicagoland suburbs? (I know I have.) I'm happy to tell you, there is just such a website: Chicagoland Christmas Lights!

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Chicago Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Tonight!

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

uglytop2Chicagosphere and Chicago Carless are both happy to be co-sponsors of tonight's Chicago Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository! (See my original post here.) The event is organized by Brad Flora, editor & publisher of the Windy Citizen.

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Yes, Chris Brogan, Social Media Can Save a Local Business

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

evilsquirrelBack in January, new-media marketing maven Chris Brogan (@chrisBROGAN) asked whether social media could save a business. In the face of the TARPconomy, He was hoping to help keep a Peabody, Mass., sandwich shop open. He wasn't successful. Last month, however, a local Chicago comic shop in economic distress had much better luck when reaching out to a loyal online following.

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Dancing Naked Ladies (and Boys) for Christmas

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

delightminiTwo new offbeat Chicago Christmas shows prove the point that the holidays aren't just for the kiddies. If mashups of classic Christmas specials, sexy burlesque, and drag-queen screwball comedy sound like a fun December evening, leave the small ones at home and consider heading to one of these edgy, adult-oriented seasonal spectaculars...

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You're Invited to the Chicago Ugly Christmas Sweater Party!

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

uglytopThis week, Windy Citizen editor & publisher Brad Flora (@bradflora) had a great idea--ask a group of local bloggers to throw their names behind a community Christmas party for our readers. It's an all-inclusive community holiday meetup--and if you're reading this post, you're invited!

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My Absent Appearance on WGN's ChicagoNow Radio with Bill Leff This Morning

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

This morning, I was scheduled to appear on WGN-AM's ChicagoNow Radio with host Bill Leff. After an unexpected verbal drubbing by Leff a minute before air time, I walked out of the studio and finished my Thanksgiving shopping, instead. Here is what Leff said to me:

"Here's a lesson to you from the media. Focus right now if you want us to promote you. Because you are replaceable."

I promised my ChicagoNow community manager I wouldn't tell you what I think of Leff and his comments on Chicagosphere. But you can find the full story on my Chicago Carless blog, right here.

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The Oak Park Penis: Does the Village's New Logo Look Like a Phallus?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

oakparkpenis

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What would you do if your municipal branding consultant suggested at a public board meeting that your town's new logo look like a penis? That happened this week in upscale Oak Park, Illinois. As local bloggers and Twitter users in the west-suburban village continue to voice shock over the new logo, I put it to you, Chicago. Does Oak Park's new logo look like what I think it does?


This afternoon, my Twitter pal, Oak Leaves town hall reporter John P. Huston (@oakpark), posted to his News Peg blog an entry about Oak Park's proposed new logo. The official logo, pictured below, was proposed on Monday to the Village Board by Ed Barlow, director of client services of "community branding experts" firm North Star Destination Strategies, for use by the Oak Park Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Proposed Oak Park Logo

The logo and, um, strap line (I swear, the correct term) are meant to convey Oak Parkers as risk takers. I'd love to know how many of you out there think "risk taker" when you think about residents of Chicago's closest west-suburban neighbor. Progressive? Absolutely. But status quo? Overwhelmingly. (I suppose that's what you get when you a give your local branding campaign to a company in another state--North Star's HQ is in Nashville, TN.)


However, I'd much rather ask in the spirit of the impending holiday season, ahem, do you see what I see?  Especially when you compare Oak Park's potential new logo to these--for want of a better term--other phallic logo fails:


Gallery sneak peek (12 images):

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Yesterday Robert Feder Opened His Mouth to Change His Feet

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

This week, former Chicago Sun-Times TV columnist Robert Feder (@robertfeder) managed to stick his foot in his mouth while sticking his tongue in his cheek. The usually scrappy Feder slapped down ChicagoNow's new WGN-AM Radio weekly show from the pulpit of his own new blog at the web-centric Vocalo Radio. Boy, could I say something about that. But fellow blogger Alexander Russo, the nationally prominent scribe of the popular District 299 Chicago Public Schools watchdog blog, got there first.


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No Toaster Oven for You: Where Are Chicago's Gay Wedding Planners?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

Gay wedding and commitment-ceremony planning is big business on both coasts. So why is it so hard to find an out and proud gay wedding planner in Chicago?

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Answer Three Questions to Build Better Blog Traffic

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

Local bloggers can lose a lot of sleep figuring out how to boost their traffic numbers. Following a cardinal rule from the world of public relations might help. Don't just know who your audience is today: know who you want your audience to be tomorrow. Answering three simple questions right now will help you determine who those audience members should be...and how to reach them.
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