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Howdy! A social network for cowboys

It seems that cowboys have social networking needs, too. So the Austin, Texas-based tries to give them chat rooms and a lot more.

It used to be said that mamas shouldn't let their babies grow up to be cowboys.

In olden times, mamas were right. A cowboy's life can be lonely. You often commune more with animals than people. And then there's the problem of riding a horse in very tight Wranglers.

However, these days, cowboys don't merely pick blackberries, they send raunchy texts on them, too (on BlackBerrys, that is). So some enterprising bejeaned geniuses came up with

It's an odd choice of name, sounding as if John Wayne and Marlon Brando had gotten drunk one night and merged their family businesses. Indeed, it's an extension of an already existing marketing company run by Chris and Kelly Cooper. And, disappointingly, not Gary.

This husband-and-wife posse told the Austin American-Statesman that they recognized a need for cowboys to be cowboys in their own private online saloon. Their common interests Chris Cooper described as "rodeo, equine interests, music, fashion, agriculture, and so on."

Cowboys are social networkers,too. CC Greenbroke/Flickr

However, this isn't your mama's cowboy world any more. Chris Cooper described his network's vision as the "New Western Order." Which might, for all I know, refer to a military coup cowboys are ready to stage in Texas.

The membership appears to have taken to the intimate exchange of online chatter. But far more interesting to the noncowboy are the topics that the site covers. Goat tying, for example. And the incomparably descriptive "mutton busting."

Kelly Cooper told the Statesman that participation comes from parts far and near: "Our members range in age from 16 to 75 and hail from all over the world--the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Japan, Sweden, Australia, France, and more. All of our members, no matter where they come from, have a love for both Western and mainstream lifestyles."

While you contemplate the main differences between "Western" and "mainstream" let me tell you that on the CowboySyndicate forum, you'll find a lady cowboy poet, who helpfully explains: "Can't call myself a cowgirl poet because I write most poems in the male gender." You'll also find cowboy DJs and even a discussion about the Trail of Painted Ponies. You know, those cute figurines of horses on your mama's mantlepiece.

I could find no postings from cowboys who were looking for someone to complete them, but I feel sure that CowboySyndicate will be an important forum for the future development of a culture whose values have had such a profound effect on recent world history.