Social media handles before the internet: a window into a unique subculture that prefigures online identities
The late 1970s and early 1980s was the golden age of British Citizens Band (CB) radio. Legal to own but illegal to operate, a CB radio and an antenna could connect you to other users nearby, creating a community for anyone with a rig and a desire to shoot the breeze. Entirely social, separate from the more technical HAM radio scene, CB radio was for everyone.
The reach of the average set was only a few miles, but each local area had "breakers," figures who would crossover the conversation into the next area and link ever-expanding social circles.
Every breaker had a "handle," a pseudonym they used to identify themselves on air. These alternate identities could be amusing, fantastical, dark or bawdy, but they were always personal. Many breakers took this identity one step further and made business cards to exchange when they met up in person--Eyeball cards. With the Eyeball cards, the alternate identities and communities of the CB radio scene were made physical.
This publication, presenting hundreds of the funniest, strangest and most intriguing Eyeball cards from across the UK, is the first to document this unique subculture. The result is a window into an outpouring of creativity that prefigures online identities--social media handles before there was even an internet.