Twitter – This Millennium’s CB Radio?

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, CB Radios {Citizen Band} were hot.  Everyone had one in their car.  Some even had base stations in their homes so they could be on the CB even while at home.  There were literally millions of CBs sold in the US during those years.  At one time, the CB was the most stolen item in car thefts across the nation.

CBs started more or less as a tool used mostly by cross country truckers.  They used them to communicate about road conditions, restaurants, speed traps as an aid to their fellow truckers.  Cross country trucking is a long lonely profession and having someone to talk to once in a while really helped pass the time and make the profession a bit more enjoyable.

Then came John Q Public. They came in droves.  They chatted about everything they could think of to anyone who would listen. There were millions of them, perfect strangers, socializing about everything and nothing.   Didn’t matter, they were committed!

There were so many people using CBs during this period that there were even movies done like Convoy that featured over the road truckers using CBs.  Seemed weird at the time and looking back on it, seems even stranger that it happened at all.  Kind of surreal when you think about it.

Then, all of a sudden, CBs were over.  Just like that!  The fad died a silent but quick death.

So what happenned?? My sense is that people just got tired talking with total strangers about nothing.  In addition to being almost a complete waste of time, using a CB was actually very time consuming.  People grew up and got busy.  They no longer had hours and hours to spend talking with people they didn’t know about things they didn’t care aboutIt was over.

The only people that continued to use them were the truckers who originally had a legitimate use case for them in the first place.

And now we have Twitter!  Yikes!!

I’ve been using it a bit the past month and I have to say, the parallels are amazing.  If you use a tool like Tweetdeck, you even come out of a session feeling like you’ve been using a CB.  Actually, it almost sounds like a CB too, except there’s no talking.

Twitter is growing just like CBs did back then and I suspect Twitter will share a very similar fate unless they come up with a use case model beyond what they have now.  The good news for them is there are a lot of developers writing apps for Twitter which will hopefully morph it into something useful.

What Twiiter has now is little more than a glorified CB.  They have a long way to go.

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One Response to Twitter – This Millennium’s CB Radio?

  1. Tom says:

    I totally agree. You did an excellent analysis of this twitter phenomenon
    .One of the other parallels of CB to twitter is the spreading of false messages and rumors. I remember the profane chatter, confrontations and fights stimulated by the anonymous nature of CB. It seems the same thing is happening on twitter as people put false rumors on celebrities or even pretend to be the celebrity. I can’t see how this twitter can be any more than a passing fad. Hopefully, whatever replaces it with better security and fact-checking, will have a better name than twitter.

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