One evening last week, I sat down on the couch to watch a movie called Paranoia starring young celeb Liam Hemsworth and acting legends Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. The flick was fairly entertaining, but what I got out of it is more than I had ever imagined, and all because of one sequence of dialogue…
During an early scene in the movie, Hemsworth is pitching a new digital product or software to Oldman and says to him: “It’s true that consumers today all have a strong desire to connect. But, the key is that they want to do it while they isolate.”
As a PR pro, this line struck me. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve read or heard such relevant, true commentary about the social environment we live in today. Whether you view this trend as a positive or a negative, there is simply no denying its existence. It’s a simple fact that is forcing businesses, organizations and PR professionals around the globe to change the way we think about and communicate to our audiences.
If you need proof, look no further than the rise in text messaging, online dating sites, social networks, and digital games over the last 5-10 years. It seems that most people today would rather E-mail, text, post or Tweet than the good old days of speaking to someone on the phone or interacting with them in person (heaven forbid). Thanks to social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, words like ‘friends’ and ‘connections’ are being redefined in today’s world. This raises the question: “What does ‘connecting’ really mean for us?”
I’m not suggesting that online tools and networks have had a negative impact on our society or that they need to be abolished for the good of the people. After all, I’m a regular Facebook and LinkedIn user. But, they have and continue to create change in our social environment and the ways we interact with people. The smart ones will take advantage of this fact.