Friday, October 4, 2013

"Social Media Driving American Youth to Drive Less"

Rabin Man Shakya

Tech juggernauts Google, Facebook, Twitter etc are fast changing the perspectives and lifestyle of the young people. Social media is creating a new audience for news and views, just as TV did a half century ago and radio did more than 90 years ago. But unlike broadcast and print mediums, social media is proving to be more effective and more pervasive. Actually, social media is becoming more ubiquitous.

Print media, radio and TV are, pretty much, channels in which one voice speaks to many, giving same message to many people. However, with social media, it's many voices disseminated to many people.

Meanwhile, social media is driving American youth to drive less. Well, this is a new piece of information provided by a news story published in the "USA Today" on October 2, 2013. Under the headline: "Driven by social media, millenials do less driving." According to the story, more and more American youth are attracted to biking and public transportation, and a photo of biking young women in the New York suburb was also published along with the story.

The news story begins with the lead: "Young Americans whose embrace of new technologies and social networking tools enable them to adopt new ways of getting around, are  beginning to change the nation's transportation landscape."

The USA Today news story went on further,"They don't drive as much as young people once did: while all Americans are driving less since the recession, the average person ages 16-34 drove 23 percent less in 2009 than in 2001, the sharpest reduction for any age group."

"And some of the nation's youths - those known as Millenials, born between 1982 and 2003 - approach travel differently than their parents do," reported the news story adding:" They are 'multimodal', meaning they choose the best mode of transportation, such as driving, transit, biking or walking, based on the trip they are planning. They consider public transportation the best option for digital socializing and one of the most likely ways to connect with the communities they live in."

The news story in the USA Today was based on the findings of two reports released recently at the American Public Transportation Association's meeting in Chicago.

"Social media driving youth to drive less" is, for sure, a very welcome news for a country like the United States where car-culture is highly developed and where people, no matter, rich or poor can't imagine their lives without a car. Be it a husband or a wife, an adult son or a daughter, virtually everybody  has a car and a driving  license in this country.

Naturally, air pollution caused by the emissions of cars and vehicles is alarmingly high in the US, so are the fatalities caused by the vehicle accidents. Therefore, judging by the USA Today news, if the American youth are really driven by the social media to drive less, it can prove to be a real catalyst for better changes on the youth.

It turns out, not all the news about the social media and its impact on the society were bleak. The social media is making some inroads in the people's lives in a positive and optimistic way.

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