10-4, good buddies – I mean, bloggers

I was in high school when the Citizens Band (CB) radio craze was at its peak. In the rural part of the country where I lived, it seemed as if everyone, including all my friends I rode with, had a CB radio except me.

For those too young to remember, folks would install CBs in their cars and drive around talking to their friends or anyone who happened to be listening in. Ostensibly (a word seldom used by CBers) drivers were on the lookout for “Smokies” (as in Smokey the Bear), which was code for the Highway Patrol – the sworn enemy of drivers and CB enthusiasts who liked to exceed the new 55 mph speed limit. Since sharing the location of Smokies was borderline illegal, and speeding definitely so, most radio users also came up with clever radio names, or “handles” for themselves to mask their true identities – or to project a certain image. An entire jargon of code words and numbers developed to further identify membership in the subculture.

In reality, though, folks just liked to talk and to feel like a part of a community – especially one that had a kind of renegade populist sensibility – and to revel in the semi-anonymity their radios gave them. Some spouted their colorful (in their minds, anyway) philosophies, others talked about the mundane, and some, well, were just adding to the noise.

Not to stretch things too far, but I see a lot of similarities between blogs and CB radios. Growing popularity, community, clever aliases, a unique jargon (MSM, trackbacks, pings, trolls, memes and much more) – and, regardless of political philosophy, that delicious sense of rebellion. I never did get a CB radio, but now I’ve got a blog – and my own chance to add to the noise.

Roger that.