I got a twitter message a few weeks ago from someone who liked an If Emily Posted post only to realize it was someone I hadn’t seen since I was about eleven. He didn’t know it was me – someone put the link in a tweet. Only connect, right?

I learn a lot from friends in the blogosphere, and I am constantly reminded of the following:

First, the world is a smaller place than I could ever imagine.

Second, as worldly as Americans think themselves, the world knows a lot more about us than vice versa.

Reading and writing online, I’ve made friends around the world and some minutes away. Many I know via URL, others I know in IRL, too.

Social networks are humbling reminders of how out of touch we can be. Considering how informed I think I am, how politically aware, it’s embarrassing to realize how well versed others are in US politics and I can only name a few Prime Ministers or Presidents beyond this continent.

Citizens of a global superpower don’t learn a lot about the rest of the world in school or the news. Meanwhile, the rest of the world knows all about you. Because you have super powers. Holy, reality check, Batman!

The other day, my friend Michelle, an Australian in California, wrote this wonderful post about growing up and the roads that lead home, and a reality show in the works causing a big stir called The Shire. They’re shooting in the Sydney suburbs. The place where she grew up. I didn’t understand the problem.

I didn’t know the past to make sense of the present.

Google found me on various websites learning about The Shire, the Cronulla riots, Scott Morrison and thinking to myself, why don’t I know any of this? I hear “racial tension in Australia” and assume it’s to do with the Aborigine population but had no clue as to the anti-Middle East and Asian sentiments. What is going on in this world?

My friend Katherine just wrote about “The Hollywood-ification of Family Life” and I started thinking about the idea of Hollywood. What people think celebrity is isn’t real. Reality TV isn’t real. It’s TV.

I think most people would be bored to see the reality of Hollywood. I probably take for granted many things I did as a kid, but I also know that the red carpet is work – most would rather watch award shows at home on the sofa eating takeout like the rest of the world.

In the US, we hear The Shire and think of The Hobbit. We don’t know what a shire is and yet the world knows all about us and the Kardashians*. We know reality TV but not so much reality. As the blogosphere keeps making the world smaller, I realize just how much I have to learn.

And now, five great things someone else said about the more we know:

You can never be overdressed or overeducated. – Oscar Wilde

Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. – G.K. Chesterton

Everyone in the world knew more than us, about everything, and this I hated then found hugely comforting. – Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity!

It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer. – Albert Einstein

You have learned something. That always feels at first as if you have lost something. – George Bernard Shaw

*Someone I know was shocked to learn the exterior shots of their home aren’t their actual home – yes, that’s true. Everyone deserves some privacy.


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