I haven’t been tweeting long and I’m not doing it right yet but I’m having fun tinkering and figuring it out. It’s more work than I thought.
This morning in the shower it occurred to me that Twitter has a lot in common with the old CB radio. Not even close to an exact fit, but some striking similarities.
CB had “handles” like Big Jack and Stompin’ Momma. Twitter has handles: @buzzword, @seagullprincess.
CB had CB-specific jargon: breaker, smoky, hammer. Twitter has a lot of sometimes complicated jargon including a new form of it, namely Twitter’s wonderful trick for shortening links so they’ll fit into tweets.
CB involved random conversations with strangers. You might have been driving along a dark road on a snowy night with the Citizens Band radio on Channel 10. You see something big on the road and you pick up the microphone, click the speak button and say clearly “Hey big Hess truck on I-95, green Chevvy coming up on your left.”
Most of the time, I’d get a response like “Got ya little Chevvy. All clear from here. What’s your handle?” and I’d reply “Mike on the Pike, yours?”
Twitter’s a lot like that. You start by telling a stranger what you’re doing and you get a response and continued conversation, or not.
Occasionally on CB someone would dominate the air, babbling nonsense. You get that in Twitter now and then: long strings of tweets full of aphorisms, paeans to Jesus and other really annoying things. After a while, you just stop following, I imagine. I haven’t done that yet, partly because I don’t know how and partly because I don’t want to.
Back in the day, you picked up a lot of valuable information from CBers. Smoky on the next bridge, Bear in the air, drunk weaving in the right lane up ahead, great truck stop just ahead. Twitter is an amazing source of info, sometimes in the tweets but more often in the attachments which can lead to pages of stuff you didn’t know.
People use Twitter to sell things, which is great. Folks who think CBers didn’t sell things never heard Stompin’ Momma up on 1-81 near Watertown.
Breaker, breaker. Stay tuned.