If there is one universal truth that almost no one in the world of technology or social media has figured out, it might be this: everyone hates evangelists. No matter what they are "evangelizing" – the world view anyone who claims this title for themselves usually has is that the product, service or idea that they have to share with the world is one that everyone should adopt. Evangelists don't see the world as it is – they see it as a place that would be better if only more people agreed with them.
That kind of one-sided thinking is dangerous, whether for joining Facebook, adopting a religion, buying an iPad or anything else. I found an unlikely reminder of this several days ago through a brilliant ad for the Toyota Venza which pits an active middle aged couple against their teenage social media obsessed daughter. As they go out into the world and enjoy their lives, their daughter laments about how "anti-social" they are and calls their 19 friends on Facebook "so sad." Check it out:
How many times might any "social media enthuasiast" find ourselves in exactly that same position? In the ad, the daughter (played perfectly by Allyn Rachel – @allynrachel on Twitter) is an evangelist for a technology that her parents are managing to do just fine without. For me, the ad stood out as a rare reminder that there is a hidden cost to our growing culture of evangelists. As marketers work to build "brand ambassadors" and ordinary customers find pleasure (and sometimes revenue) in becoming the unofficial voices for brands – there will be a coming backlash against those who are overly evangelical.
So instead of so much dueling evangelism, what if each of us just focused on ourselves instead of "converting" others to our point of view? In an ideal world, people should always feel free to share their passion about the things they love … as long as we all don't have to agree on what those things are.