Why The New Toyota Commercial Drives Me Crazy

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.




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  • Anonymous says:

    How would you know the difference? You may be able to “contact” someone in China, but you aren’t having the dept of experience possible by being in their presence. There are a multitude of nuiances of facial expression, gesture, tone of voice and more that are filtered out or altered when one is depending on transmission by camera and microphone.
    This kind of human interaction is being lost and as you’ve demonstrated, appreciation for it is being forgotten by those who have only limited experience among a few friends and family members. It’s called desensitization among other things and whether you know it or not, the commercial’s point is valid and extremely significant.

    • Amanda says:

      In-person is always most ideal, but I think we have more options today. What bothered me most about the commercial is how Generation Y is being depicted. That we only value our connections through our computer screens and that we don’t spend time out in the real world.

      But you bring up a good point. Face-to-face human interaction is being forgotten and it’s important to recognize this. You should check out Sherry Turkle’s most recent book – “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.” I think you’ll find it interesting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure we have more options. My point, and I think you agreed, is that in person is better. The bottom line is that internet contact is only a little bit better than a long distance phone call, though still in some ways, not even so.