When I was growing up in the 1960’s our social media network was the porch, the yard, the sidewalk, the barber, the rotary telephone, etc. We actually communicated with people face to face most of the time (unless we were on the phone.) We received the news from a daily newspaper.
Newspapers were the great mass medium throughout much of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries. Yet, from at least the Victorian era on, people were using the medium for interpersonal communications. Well before Craigslist and Facebook, 19th century newspapers would run “personals” of lovelorn Victorians seeking to connect with a briefly-glanced stranger or to find a suitable partner for marriage. Like current social media messages, these notes — while often targeted to a specific individual — were public and available to anyone who perused the paper (although identities were often concealed by aliases).
Marconi’s “wireless telegraphy” was originally intended to be exactly that: a wireless version of the telegraph for circumstances where wired infrastructure was infeasible, such as between ships at sea and the mainland. Very quickly, however, the technology evolved from telegraphy to voice transmission and was pressed into service for broadcasting news and entertainment. And thus radio was born.
Although radio, like newspapers, is principally a broadcast medium — transmitting a single stream of content to a mass audience — clever radio stations realized that people wanted to use the airwaves to connect with each other, and in the early rock ‘n’ roll era, many “top 40” radio stations functioned as primitive social networks. Listeners could call their local station, request a song and give a dedication to that special someone for the disc jockey to announce on the air. George Lucas’s 1973 film American Graffiti captures the magic of the time when the local pop radio station was pervasive and served as the social glue for the young generation. (This movie was a hit – watched it several times when it came out at the drive-in.) “The Wolfman is everywhere,” the local disk jockey — who may or may not actually be the Wolfman himself — tells Curt (Richard Dreyfuss). Curt uses the airwaves to connect with the mysterious blonde in the T-Bird whom he has only seen in glimpses while cruising the streets of Modesto, Calif.
I remember in the early 70’s listening to Wolfman Jack out of a Boston station every night.
Like much social media today, a message delivered over the airwaves by the local DJ may be targeted to a particular individual, yet would be broadcast to a much larger audience. That was a part of the thrill — to share your personal sentiments with this larger group.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a group of hackers, known as “phone phreaks,” were obsessed with exploring the global telephone network. While much of their activity revolved around making free long-distance calls, they also discovered ways for multiple callers to talk simultaneously, creating conference-call like chat rooms for real-time group interaction through the telephone system.
Later into the 1970s, the Citizen’s Band radio craze turned the airwaves into a true peer-to-peer network. Originally popular among long-haul truckers, average Americans jumped on the CB bandwagon to eavesdrop on trucker chatter and converse with each other over the Citizen’s Band frequencies.
Much of the lingo of the CB universe has an analogue in today’s social media. Although the slang use of “handle” to refer to a person’s name, title or accolade dates to the 19th century, the use of the term as a reference to one’s on-air identity in CB jargon is a direct precursor of how the term is now used for online identity in Twitter.
Like modern social media, CB radio had its own argot, a set of shorthand abbreviations and slang that made communications more efficient and, perhaps more importantly, created a cultural signal that distinguished those “in the know” from interlopers — a trend that continues in modern text messages and tweets. CB radio’s “breaker, breaker” and “What’s your 20?” have been supplanted by “OMG” and “ROTFLOL.”
From the chat rooms of the 1990s to AOL, MySpace, then Facebook and Twitter we have become perhaps to connected – we used to worry about idle gossip, now we have to take care what we put online because it never goes away.
Perhaps we should set aside our cellphones, tablets and laptops – go outside and say hello to your neighbors – or perhaps they may become frightened and call 911 because there is a crazy person on their porch distracting them from their Facebook time.
Tomorrow I will be looking at the deadly storms of June 8th 2008.
HRRR and Futurecast models runs are for 18 hours beginning at 7am – a second model run begins at 3pm
Day and Week Planner
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Here is a look at the CPC experimental outlook (guess) for the last half of June. They show a 55% chance of cooler than normal temperatures.
Only forecast issue in the near term is timing and coverage of POPs with weak front pushing through Thursday night and Friday. Chance POPs should suffice as model soundings show limited instability and lift. Thunderstorm potential is also diminished by frontal passage expected to occur during Friday morning. .
The weak front washes out Friday night, and depending on the timing of this, and how far south the front makes it, we may see isolated showers or storms last into Friday night. I have added a 20 POP to cover the demise of the front. Otherwise, upper ridging develops over the Western Great Lakes by Saturday, with a blocking surface high over the Carolinas.
This setup will develop deep southwesterly flow into the region, leading to warmer temps into early next week. H8 temps climb to the +17C to +20C range by Saturday night and this regime lingers over the area through at least Tuesday. This should keep high temps in the mid and upper 80s for Sunday through Tuesday. With the blocking pattern in place, it appears any pcpn will remain to our west through Tuesday.