Conversations Across Borders & Businesses: Comparing Twitter and Ham Radio

Just like Twitter, Ham Radio (Amateur Radio) is a way to connect with others openly, without going through any level of filtering that we otherwise face in other communication avenues.

In the 70s, Ham Radio was very exciting for me. I was still in school and did not have a Ham license but was referred to as “SWL Shashi” i.e Short Wave Listener.  I would monitor the conversations between Hams and send them a monitoring report with their signal strength and get a QSL Card from them. Among the well known personalities I knew were Ham operators Rajiv Gandhi callsign VU2RG and King of Jordan JY1 (His wife also a Ham operator JY1NH). I never had the occasion to hear any of them and get a QSL card from them but, if they were on the air, anyone else could address them and have a conversation with them. The medium was open and friendly and folks would get on the air and converse with each other and later meet in real life in conferences and become friends. Amateur Radio operators even today rise up during disasters and provide a much needed communication channel before power and Internet are restored.

On Twitter, the opportunity to talk to the world exists the same way as in Ham Radio, where you can follow and converse with journalists, C level executives of companies, movie personalities, great speakers, business experts and politicians. Don’t forget you can converse with your customers and friends as well. Ramon Ray, the ever energetic Small Business Technology evangelist and editor of Smallbiztechnology.com, is @ramonray.

The Ham Radio operators I am connected to on Twitter are Jim Long of NBC (2newmediajim) and Jeff Pulver, technologist and founder of the 140 Character Conference. Even in the age of Twitter, Ham radio continues to grow.

“Ham Radio is not dead, most people seem to get the mind set that you don’t need that kind of stuff. We have our cell phones, all we gotta do is punch in the numbers,” said Max Carpenter, Moose Horn Amateur Radio Club Director in the Peninsula Clarion. “Cell towers are not always going to be available if the big emergency does come along.”

The top takeaway in my comparison of Twitter and Ham Radio is that if used well it is a excellent communication medium to have conversations and the potential is endless.

  1. Communicating with people beyond your offline network
  2. Useful during disasters to communicate
  3. Both could  be an interesting hobby

Have you been or are you a Ham operator? Are you on Twitter too ? What do you think ? While Twitter could be used for business selectively not sure if Ham Radio can be used in that way? What do you think ?

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About Shashi Bellamkonda

Shashi Bellamkonda is a Speaker and Digital Marketing Expert and he is the Vice President, Digital Marketing at The Bozzuto Group whose mission statement is " the best real estate company in America." Bellamkonda is also an Adjunct faculty member of Georgetown University. After several years of enriching experience in the hospitality industry which also included being a chef, Shashi transformed his hobby of computers and technology to his career working in areas like Customer service, Program Management, Digital marketing and Social Media.

  • http://www.ARRL.org Allen Pitts

    Thank you for the good article about Amateur Radio, but it is definitely NOT for business uses. There are FCC rules prohibiting that and hams are very careful about it.
    At the same time, it is the last place where individuals can learn about wireless technology with hands-on experience, great as a hobby and indispensable in an emergency situation. But it is not for business – there are business band radios for that.