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
Day one of the 2017 SHOT Show was heralded with a flurry of emailed press releases and event announcements that hit my inbox with a vengeance in the wee hours that morning last month. Meanwhile, in the crowded hallways of the Sands Convention Center, the clock finally struck 8:30, and the impatient pitterpatter of more than 100,000 feet became a thundering roar as dozens of double doors flew wide to admit more than 60,000 of my closest Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade industry friends to the showroom floor.
Yes, the American Shooting Journal was there at the down beat, holding the fort in booth 408, spinning our oversized wheel on the hour, handing out prizes and distributing copies of our expanded January issue to what we hope will become regular readers.
Each year, SHOT Show fills the Las Vegas venue with a vast array of the latest guns, gear and swag, as well as services ranging from helicopter hunting adventures to the latest handgun training techniques. It really is a can’t-miss event for those of us in the industry, and even though it can be a madhouse, it’s our madhouse, and it’s also the best place to connect with company representatives and other members of the industry media. What we see and learn here will help fill our print and virtual pages for the next six to nine months and beyond. It is perhaps the one time a year where what happens in Vegas is broadcast loud and clear to everyone interested in the outdoor industry.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank Team Taurus captain Jessie Duff, the subject of our January cover story, for taking time out of her busy, heavily sponsored show schedule to visit our booth on the outskirts of the show to meet, greet and sign copies of our magazine for all of the guests who stopped by to say hello. –Craig Hodgkins