Shortly before the most recent national election, I received an alert on my iPhone suggesting that I follow Hillary Clinton on Twitter. Clearly, despite all the time we spend together, my smartphone isn’t too smart. But besides being wrong on so many levels, this automatic, sponsored message from an ap also reminded me how convoluted things can become in this age of technological dependence and information collection.
If you shop online, you know how easy it is to confuse (to use one example) Amazon’s purchase history tracker. Like many of you, I regularly buy gifts for a variety of friends and family members. But to Amazon, all of these purchases go into one big “Craig” bucket, meaning that their online tracker has me ﬁgured for a fan of Simplicity dress patterns, Terry and the Pirates comic collections, 1960s jazz and folk music, ﬁgure skating, Minecraft strategy guides, LEGO construction sets, and hydroponic gardening.
Some of those purchases were for me (I’ll let you guess which), but now, and probably for time immemorial, my Amazon page will feature targeted advertisements for items in which I am not personally interested. If their ad metrics are designed to create or increase purchase intent on my part, the results often just make me laugh.
And yet, the Internet remains a wonderful resource for seeking information, especially in the initial stages of a search, as long as we exercise our due diligence and have a good vetting process to help us determine what is true and what is, as my father used to say, “a lot of hooey.” The old adage “don’t believe everything you read” may be doubly true of online content, as the barriers of entry to “publishing” are rarely barriers at all.
But there is a wealth of outstanding content online, including that produced by the four individuals highlighted in our feature on current Internet video channel personalities. And although they are each riding a new wave of outdoor storytelling, it is worth noting that at least two of these channels frequently feature historical or classic ﬁrearms, along with the latest and greatest from today’s top companies.
I love it when the new and the old come together. Maybe I’ll tweet about it, and see who gets “suggested” to follow me. -Craig Hodgkins