One of the more recent Toyota commercials shows a 20-something girl behind a computer screen, complaining about how “lame” her parents are because they don’t have more than 19 Facebook friends. Meanwhile, her parents are out and about – enjoying life while she’s glued to her laptop.
Is this really what Toyota thinks about my generation?
This ad bothers me for a few reasons. First, social media doesn’t inhibit our ability to connect with others. It only enhances our ability to communicate with friends, acquaintances, co-workers and family members. We’re able to reach someone in China just as quickly as a friend around the block.
Before Facebook (and Google+), we might have been limited to certain vehicles of communication (phone, email, hand-written letters or face to face contact to name a few). But now, we have more options.
In Steve Adubato’s recent Star Ledger blog, he argues that social networks like Facebook can erode in-person connections. I disagree. In many instances, social networks can help facilitate face-to-face interactions. I’ve used the invite function on Facebook countless times to organize social functions; in the business setting, there’s Meetup – used to help groups of people with shared interests plan meetings.
Moreover, social networks are an excellent platform to voice opinions and start conversations on timely topics (i.e. U.S. debt, Verizon strike, etc.), while also getting feedback and responses from companies, potential customers and peers.
Contrary to Toyota’s belief, my generation is not crippled by social networking and technology – we’re empowered. We’re not sitting at home behind our screens; we’re out and about too. Just check out our Facebook Places and Foursquare feeds for proof.