Technology Article | "Twitter: The CB Radio of the Digital Age"

by Alicia R.

Whether you’re a business announcing your latest special, or a non-profit trying to promote an event...or simply an individual interested in sports, Twitter is your very own customized news ticker and the CB radio of the digital age.

Some of you may have fond memories of using a CB radio...creating a fun “handle” or nickname like “Bull Frog” or “Huckleberry Jane” ...broadcasting your first message to what seemed like the world, and eagerly anticipating the colorful replies that would surely follow. You can still have that same excitement and’s called

Unlike radio stations, a CB radio does not require a special license (not since the 1980s) and neither does Twitter--both are media for the people, by the people. Oh, and human nature is the same too. Some folks are the talkers, while others preferred to sit back and listen to other people’s conversations.

So here’s exactly how they relate:

CB RadioTwitter
"Handle" or Nickname"Handle" is the same. Some folks choose to use their real names, while others choose to use a nickname. On Twitter, your handle is distinguishable by a @ sign immediately before the handle. For example: Rockport Film Festival’s handle is @RockportTXFilm.

You, of course, want your handle to be unique, so you can’t choose a handle that’s already taken. If you want to broadcast a message with a specific person in mind you might say: “Reading an article on the WWN by @brandingarsenal.” In Twitter we call this a “Mention.”
Short, Declarative Statements or QuestionsUnlike Facebook, Twitter is more like a stock ticker. Info is meant to be quick and to the point. Twitter limits messages or “Tweets” to 140 characters or less for uniformity and pace.
Replying to Someone’s MessageYep you can! Just hover your mouse over a "Tweet" or message and click the “Reply” link below it. Then, that person receives an email (or alert on their smart phone) that someone ‘replied to their Tweet.’ Within your Twitter account they call these “Interactions.”
Repeating Someone Else’s Message to Your ListenersExactly the same on Twitter. You can repeat someone else’s message by “RE-tweeting” their message or ”tweet”. This is similar to a forward on email. Your audience or “followers” sees the message you copied from someone else. This is the digital way to "spread the word."
Listening or Following a Particular PersonYep, same here too! If you “follow” a handle (click the "follow" button on their page), that means their messages will “stream” into your news feed. You can pay attention to their channel for 5 minutes a day or 12 hours! People paying attention to your “tweets” are your followers.
Retract a Statement You Broadcasted?  “...No no, that’s not what I meant”Unlike a CB you CAN delete a Tweet you misspelled, misspoke, etc--but like a moving news “river” sometimes it’s just best to keep going, as in a discussion.
Talking about a Particular Topic, like a StormJust like on a CB a few people might be talking about a specific topic. On Twitter, topics are distinguished by a tag or label--referred to as a “Hashtag” and uses the number symbol (#) right before the topic.

For example you might tweet: “Have you been to the new WWN website? #wwnrockport”  The more specific the hashtag the more it tips people off to the exact news item you are referring to.

Often times, businesses or events will designate a hashtag for folks to use and discuss around. Like “Did you go to #AntiquesRoadShow this year?” Hashtags are one of the unique things about Twitter that really enables discussion about a particular topic--whether it's local or global!

These are just a few of the Twitter basics...Now, get “Tweeting!”

Twitter Quick Facts:  
Alicia R. is the Owner of The Branding Arsenal, a fully inclusive web / print / graphic design, marketing and consulting firm based in Rockport, Texas. Follow her on Twitter at @BrandingArsenal

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