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
Welcome to our expanded April issue, chock-full of insightful and engaging articles and a passel of products, many of which will be featured at the National Rifle Association’s 2017 Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Atlanta from April 27-30 at the Georgia World Congress Center. If you are a member of the NRA (and we suspect many of you are) and plan to be in A-Town for the firearms-focused festivities, please stop by the American Shooting Journal booth (#402) for a visit. We’d love to meet you, but if that is not motivation enough, here’s an additional inducement. Every new or renewing subscriber who visits the booth will receive a free gift and will automatically be entered in our daily raffle featuring great prizes donated by many of our top advertisers. See page 23 of this issue for more information. This year’s annual meetings ﬁgure to be a most interesting get-together. Last year’s edition attracted crowds of more than 80,000 enthusiastic firearms owners, and this year promises to be no different, with the World Congress Center’s 450,000 square feet filled to the doorways with your favorite outdoor industry manufacturers and service providers. Special events include the annual National NRA Foundation banquet, a Women’s Leadership Forum luncheon, the NRA/ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) dinner and auction, and a Saturday night concert headlined by Hank Williams, Jr. We hope to see you there! -Craig Hodgkins