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Who is the average blog reader? More importantly, who is the average Hoffman Files reader? What does this individual look like? Are they predominantly female or male? Are there certain ages of individuals who favor perusing the blog pages? Are we more likely to find baby-boomers or millennials turning to the blogs for all of their information both great and small? Are these fans of all things blogged short or tall? Are they thin, or horizontally challenged? Would most of those who prefer reading blogs be considered lonely or the life of the party? What about location? Can we glean anything about these individuals by where they live? I’ve been trying to figure that out for the past five years. You see, I’ve received views from pretty much every country on the planet except for North Korea, (where I understand the leader is doing a heck of a job according to our president. He’s doing so well, his people don’t even have time to enjoy access to a free and uncensored internet….or food, but who’s counting?) but I’m not sure that tells me a whole lot.
Yes, the average blog reader remains a mystery, and that can also be said for the average fan of the Hoffman Files. Sometimes I’ll run into people who I know, and they will inform me that they read my blog, and that they enjoy it, and to them I say thank you. But there’s no common theme there that tells me anything about them, other than that they know me. The people I work for have been supportive, and I suppose that’s a plus. After all, the last thing one would want to deal with is a hassle at the job where they get paid because of something they did at the job in which they are not. But what about you? Yes you, the blog reader, there is so much I don ‘t know about you. Do the frequent commenters who chime in with their opinions great and small provide any clue into who the average Hoffman Files reader is?
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This is how I picture most of my readers. A mystery, wrapped inside a riddle. An enigma, shrouded in doubt…a.k.a. somebody who rarely leaves their basement. (You Tube)
I have about a half-dozen to a dozen regular commenters who post their musings on my blog here at the Times Union. For some reason, at least three of them appear to be named “Edgar.” That’s got to be one of the craziest coincidences I’ve ever seen. There are others of course, and they include but are not limited to those who don’t like my political leanings, those who don’t think I’m particularly funny, and those who don’t seem capable of abiding my occasional grammatical error. However, while I suppose an F.B.I. profiler might enjoy taking a stab at this collection of devoted Hoffman Files enthusiasts, it doesn’t really tell me much about who they are.
I understand that you can stumble upon anything via the World Wide Web, and that explains why I have views coming from places like Zambia, Curacao, Jordan, Trinidad & Tobago (I’m much more popular in Trinidad than with the ogres who live in Tobago) Kenya, Singapore, and of course the UAE. I’m not sure what these international types think about the Hoffman Files, only that perhaps one day I will take a trip to Curacao, and maybe they’ll have my blogs posted all over the town square. Hey, a man can dream, can’t he?
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Somewhere out there on the fabulous island of Curacao is a dedicated Hoffman Files reader who is shunning the beautiful beaches and scenery in order to do a little light reading. Thank you good sir…or madam. (You Tube)
So what is it that drives certain individuals to read a blog? Don’t they know there’s plenty of good print media out there? Well apparently there are reasons why people read blogs. According to doz.com there are nine reasons why people read blogs. They include…
Convenient Information Seeking – This is true, if you want to know why rooting for the Jets gives one character, how come Yodels are the perfect food, or why you really can’t watch Abbott and Costello movies, episodes of Seinfeld, or the Godfather nearly enough, the answers to these and pretty much every question you’ll ever have can be answered by turning to the Hoffman Files.
Anti-Traditional Media Sentiment – Why would you turn to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, or the Times Union for that matter when you can read my stories without the stuffiness of fact-checking or editing?
Expression/Affiliation – Who wouldn’t want to be a member of the Hoffman Files community? Humans have an innate need to belong, and becoming a member of my blog’s community is like being a member of a cult, without the blind obedience and mandatory castration.
Guidance/Opinion Seeking – Why burden yourself with formulating opinions when you have me to do it for you.
Blog Ambiance – Apparently, readers like it when a blogger creates a welcoming environment, that is also enjoyable, as well as positive. If that doesn’t describe the Hoffman Files, then I don’t know what does. I have literally left directions for my tombstone to say, “Here lies Robert Hoffman, his blog was welcoming, enjoyable and positive.”
Personal Fulfillment – People feel enjoyment from a good blog, and they will come back time and time again to enjoy that feeling. In other words, the Hoffman Files are like an opiate that you can’t overdose from. Think of me as a dealer, a dealer in blogs.
Political Debate – Everything today is couched in politics, and blogs lend themselves naturally to this end. A lot of people have lashed out at me for taking cheap shots at the president even when I’m not writing about politics. Only a defender of an orange faced Mussolini wannabe would say that.
Variety of Opinion – Blogs are far less predictable than the editorial and opinion pages of most newspapers and websites. You never know for example how much I’m going to criticize Trump. A lot? A little?
Specific Inquiry – Sick of Wikipedia and its unreliable findings, come to the blogs, we’ll answer your queries. I’ve already solved the JFK assassination, as well as explaining in painstaking detail why Tom Brady is the Antichrist. What will I do for an encore?
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Perhaps one day I will host a meet and greet with my readers and fans. Somehow, I see it looking something like this. (You Tube)
Blogging for a newspaper makes for an interesting relationship. The powers that be have made it clear to me that we bloggers don’t generate that much revenue for the TU on its blog page, which is funny because so far the Times Union hasn’t generated much revenue for me either. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to blog for the Times Union, but I’m not sure some of the old school newspaper people have much respect for us independent bloggers. One columnist in the Times Union called the writing of bloggers, “Something approaching English.” I’m not sure what language “approaches” English, but I’m guessing Latin. Of course I really wouldn’t know since I’m only approaching English. Still, successful blogs can produce thousands if not hundreds of thousands of views that all go to the TU website, and the last time I checked that was better than nothing.
Do those who traditionally turn to the Times Union blogging page completely eschew the actual newspaper? Are these individuals who simply don’t trust the mainstream media, or are they bored by what they see in a diminishing industry? Sadly, as newspapers continue to bleed money and are forced to cut staff as well as features, they become less desirable to read, and therefore drive more and more readers to electronic forms of media. Not to worry, I’m here, and I will continue to reach out to my loyal readers, eagerly awaiting their suggestions, critiques, and gentle put downs such as, “You’re a f#&king a$$ hole,” and words to that effect. Here’s to all of you, whoever you are.