The Hound was launched on August 28, 2008. Since that time we have had 26,750 unique visitors. I have studied the issue and come up with an estimate that 1 out of 4 of those visitors resides in Hickory. That estimate would mean that 6,687 locals have looked at this blog.
Thanks for this contribution Jeff Lynn whose B-Day was yesterday:
Let's put that in perspective. That means that 1 out of every 6 people in Hickory have looked at this blog. That means that practically anywhere you go in this area, somebody knows about the Hickory Hound. We have a long way to go and a lot more work needs to be done. We have to shed the ambivalence that has taken over the area. We have to get our citizens to care about what happens in this area. They must understand that their lack of participation in our governance leads to leadership that will not tend to their needs.
People from all over the globe have looked at this blog and I think that is good for Hickory. Those visitors include people who were originally from here and want to check on home; people who reside here, but may be away at school, in the military, or some other venture; or people who might be researching the area to move here or possibly locate a business here. I have received messages from many different people who have happened upon this site and they are very much interested in our story.
The Hound has over 300 people who are on the various e-mail or message lists including Google Groups, Facebook, and Twitter. There I notify my frequently returning visitors of any new articles. Since last year, nearly 400 articles have been introduced and I believe that I have been fair in those contributions. I have been chastised from all sides from time to time and I believe that says that the purpose is right on. Many times people have told me I am right on. Even when they tell me that they don't always agree with me, they say I have it right on most accounts. Hardly anyone has said that I don't have a clue.
Content wise, I have delved into many subjects. The main area of concern for this region is jobs. Since we went into this persistent 10%+ reported unemployment rate twenty months ago, it has looked as though there is no way out from underneath the predicament. That is the reason why the Hound constantly discusses the economy and economic development, because those issues should be at the forefront of all of our thoughts. You cannot create new jobs and industries without focused economic development.
I think that most of the people in this area stopped drinking the Kool-Aid long ago. The be happy and have a blindly positive outlook thing was not working. As I have stated before, you must honestly assess where you are in order to solve your problems. You can't put off solving your probelms to some time in the future. You must work towards solving them today. I believe that this blog has pried open the thought processes, albeit many times reluctantly, about ways that we should assess and solve problems. And although we aren't headed in the right direction, we have finally started the process of turning the ship around. And that momentous, in and of itself.
As we begin the third year of the Hound, the Hound will continue to evolve in its mission. In this age of constant and rapid change, we must remain nimble, while staying true to the principles of history. The Hound's intent is to always be accessible, more credible, and more integral to the needs of the people than other sources of information available involving the Hickory area. This Blog is only about me to the extent of my opinions. I will always try to separate the facts from the opinion and I hope I do a good enough job of expressing the difference.
Thank You Steve Fennell for pointing this out:
In the end, the Hickory Hound is about Hickory and its relationship to all of the people. It isn't just about Hickory's City Leadership or Hickory Proper's Citizens. It is about everyone who has a relationship with this city and this region and the effects that "Hickory" has on the world and the people based on Commerce, Governance, Politics, Action, and Quality of Life issues based upon "Hickory's" vitality, growth, and future. If you have never read The Objectives of the Hickory Hound, then I encourage you to do so. I believe we have adhered to these principles and this mission throughout the two years and we will continue to do so.
As we move forward, we will continue to gain more and more viewership, but I intend to have the same intent as day one. I am proud of how far we have come in the last year and we have already seen and expect to more saturation in the near term. My intent is not to ruffle feathers, it is to move this area forward. I hope that you will continue to participate and that this Blog will be a source that you can continue to rely on to get the information and depth of thought that just isn't available elsewhere. This is a community and I encourage you to participate and I appreciate any constructive comments you may offer.
James Thomas Shell