Eugene Cho

so sad that my parents have only 19 friends

Have you seen this commercial about a car called Venza (video below)?

I have no idea about the car. In fact, I’ve never even heard about this car from Toyota but I did see the commercial for the first time last night and laughed out loud or LOL or ROFLOL or whatever it is that people write nowadays.

Absolutely brilliant.

Funny, biting, and surprisingly provocative because it directly or indirectly asks some probing questions about “our generation” and social media:

  • Are we more connected?
  • Are we more social?
  • Are we more engaged in community?

Or even deeper yet…

Are we happier than our parents or our parents’ generation?

My parents aren’t on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and the last time I checked, they weren’t using MySpace. They don’t own a smartphone, an iPhone, 3D phone, iPad, Blackberry, but a dumbphone that just calls and answers.  They don’t instragram, Foursquare, check-in, Gowherehuh, etc. And while they do use a laptop and email, they seem to do absolutely great connecting with friends without usage of the great and indispensable gifts of social media.

I don’t know if they’re happier but they certainly understand the importance of connectedness and community.

Minhee and I have been begging my parents (who reside in San Francisco) to move up to Seattle to live with us or live close to us. We love them. We want to be around them. We’d love their help with the kids. We want our kids to spend as much time with them as possible. We want to care for them as they age. And our list goes on and on why them moving to Seattle makes sense.

But they can’t make the decision to move because…well…their community are all in San Francisco.

It was news to me: Community matters as much to my parents as it does for us. In fact, I might contend that it may actually matter more since they don’t lean at all on the over-inflated experiences of feeling connected via social media.

“This is living…”

It’s difficult to quantify an answer to the question, “Are we happier?” but as great are the benefits and merits of social media, I do wonder if we – in our current generation – actually love telling the story of our stupendous lives via 140 characters, check-ins, facebook statuses, and other mediums more than being fully present in that moment.

I’m certainly been there. Done that.

My parents? They love telling stories, too. But I noticed it happens after the event. And with real people in the flesh around them. And over a meal or with food and drinks involved. And they don’t LOL…they actually laugh out loud.

Go figure.

What do you think?

Here’s the commercial:

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15 Responses

  1. Thanks for this. One of the surprising trends that Andy Crouch said to look for is that young adults are making decisions based on their community instead of their job. I guess it’s not just the “young” people!

    “At the Q gathering in 2010, urbanologist Richard Florida observed that young adults meeting one another no longer ask, “What do you do?” They ask, “Where do you live?” More and more people will change careers in order to stay in a place—connected to family, friends, and local culture—than will change place to stay in a career. The 20th-century American dream was to move out and move up; the 21st-century dream seems to be to put down deeper roots. This quest for local, embodied, physical presence may well be driven by the omnipresence of the virtual and a dawning awareness of the thinness of disembodied life.”
    http://www.qideas.org/blog/ten-most-significant-cultural-trends-of-the-last-decade.aspx

  2. Drew Brown says:

    I think the reason why social networking is so popular is because it “satisfies” our hunger to be connected with other people, but without all the hurt that comes from real relationships.

  3. Jim says:

    “I read an article. Well, I read the majority or an article online…”

    So funny. And then I stopped laughing because I realized it was making fun of me.

    Darn it.

  4. Rebecca says:

    LOL
    LMAO
    ROTFL
    ROTFLMAO

  5. Daniel Azuma says:

    I think I’m going to skip my usual philosophical-theological tirade against technology and social media, and… go out for a bike ride. 🙂

  6. Dennis Lyons says:

    I love your work/ministry, whatever you want to call it! You are always right where I’m thinking, which probably isn’t very mainstream. Yes, I’m one of thoose older people who has started to do some networking, but mostly to stay connected to my kids; who don’t cal as much as they text, facebook, and what ever else it is they do. I try to stay connected to friends from church,etc. but it does seem that most arr going with tech. for communication,,,,it would be nice to just go out to dinner sometime!!!

  7. jddoug17 says:

    Eugene, thanks. Helpful for a talk I’m doing at a Ministry Net conference. Have to keep remembering–it’s about real people. Real community.

  8. […] 8 minutes of this month. I’ll refrain rom saying the best used 8 minutes of your life because that would be sad if watching a video is the highlight of your […]

  9. […] you seen the new Toyota Venza commercial? It’s the one where the teenage actress says, “I read an article online, well I read the […]

  10. The Count says:

    What? Why no comment on the irony of this sad little girl tweaking her parents for having a life she can’t relate to.

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The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
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Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor. It's a sad reality but our society runs on the currency of fear. Don't feed into this frenzy.

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