Have you ever tweeted, “10-4, Good Buddy”?

I have to admit something.

I’m really starting to get the whole texting, tweeting, social networking stuff. It has been growing on me for some time now, but I think it finally makes sense.

Do you know why?

Today I was driving into work and while I was at a stop sign, I could’ve sworn I saw some guy talking on a CB radio. And it got me thinking – how is talking on a CB radio any different than tweeting or texting?

I remember growing up watching my dad with his CB radio – I was about 12 when he got his first one. He was a field service technician and would put in a lot of miles travelling to various companies to fix their big, old 10MB platters (that’s a hard drive to you and me). So he would use the CB to pass the time, check on traffic, find out where the cops were, and to share a story or two with other CB owners.

Sounds awfully familiar to how many of us use Twitter, FaceBook, or texting, doesn’t it? While you may not check the status of traffic, you certainly check out the status of everything else, like friends and families, books and movies, and sports and movie stars. Oh, and the occasional status of your friend letting you know that he’s "chillin’ with his peeps."

Back then, my dad had his own handle – that’s CB talk for his "username". His was Pistol Pete. I have no idea how that one came about, as he never did carry a gun. Though it’s no different than how people come up with their usernames today for the various social networking sites either. Just looking through the usernames of people following me on twitter I see "Boulder_Lady", "CCMasterMind" and "TheGreatKabuki." You gotta love that last one.

On a CB, you send short, quick messages to people much like you do with texting or tweeting. And from time to time you might talk a bit longer like you would in FaceBook or in a blog.

On a CB, you use code words like:

  • 10-4 good buddy (I understand, friend)
  • What’s your 20? (where are you?)
  • That guy is an Alligator Station (all mouth and no ears. A person who likes to talk just to hear himself
  • I need some go-go juice (I need some fuel)
  • The light’s green, bring on the machine (road’s clear of cops and obstructions)
  • Lookin’ for a nap trap (a place to sleep)
  • I just got passed by a mobile mattress (a 4-wheeler pulling a camper)
  • and many others that you can find here: http://www.cbgazette.com/slang.html

Doesn’t seem much different to what many of us use when texting, blogging, or tweeting does it?

When I was writing this blog, I made a quick call to my dad to ask him if he had any stories about his time using his CB and he told me a true story where the CB saved his life.

He told me about a time he was travelling in the southern part of Indiana heading east from Louisville to Lexington, KY on Interstate 64. He was driving in the fast lane doing about 75 when her heard someone come over the CB, "Watch out for that fast moving car in the left lane on east bound 64!" Getting a little worried that they might be talking about him, he slowed down and pulled into the right-hand lane pretty quickly.

Not more than a minute or so later, as he approached a turn in the road, a white Camaro came around the turn heading west (towards him) in the eastbound lane (the very same lane he was just in) being chased by two police cars. Apparently the Camaro was racing from the cops after not paying for his gas and jumped on the interstate. If my dad hadn’t pulled into the right lane when he did, he might have been killed by the Camaro as he came around the turn.

Pretty amazing, huh? Not sure I’ve ever heard any stories about how using a social networking has saved someone’s life before, but maybe you have. Let me know.

So, until next blog:
CB SLANG: Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down!
TEXTING: TTFN, CUL8R, & MTFBWY

Tim Passios