“It’s a small world…”

… said my four-year old, with a sigh, from the back of the minivan.  He was referring to seeing the same person at church, at Friendly’s, and at the local gas station.  It’s typical of the way he surprises us with his conversant ability.  Normally, I just shake my head, smile with a little parental pride, and move on.  Today, however, his comment stuck with me.  It is a small world.  Getting smaller all the time.

I was reminded of this yesterday.  I was wearing my favorite Albany Tea Party shirt as I took the kids to Friendly’s for their free ice cream day. Yum. But I digress.  As we sat eating our vanilla and cookies & cream ice cream cones, an older couple approached us to comment on the t-shirt.  I spoke to these two tea party supporters for 20 minutes. It’s a small world.

How often have you been surprised to find that you share an acquaintance with someone you just met?  I’ve met the relative of a coworker at an amusement park hundreds of miles from home.  (We’re great friends now.) My wife and I became friends with a retired couple at a film shoot for a TV show about roller coasters.  (We happen to be roller coaster enthusiasts.) Months later, we coincidentally moved to the town where their daughter practices medicine.  (She’s now our family doctor.)  It’s a small world.

The electrons zooming through our computers have only increased the pace.  Just look at social media.  Using tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn I’ve been able to reconnect with high school and college friends. I’m “friends” with people that I’ve never met in person.  Geographically, I can communicate nearly instantly with people on the other side of the planet.  It’s a small world.

Perhaps even more important to this virtual shrinkage of our spinning globe comes from the power social media gives to ordinary citizens. Have you heard about the woman who found her children and their kidnapper via Facebook?  Powerful stuff.  In my frequent visits to my Facebook page, I see hundreds of posts daily with links to blogs, news articles, YouTube videos, and simple statements of opinion.  I am getting more of my news via Twitter now.  Not only is the pace of information increased, now much of it rests in the hands of the overall public.  Look out politicians, CEO’s, and media giants.  It’s becoming a tiny world!

Back to the minivan:  did I hear words of wisdom from a young ‘un?  I think so.  What’s the cliche?  “Out of the mouths of babes….”

Feel free to further shrink that world with your electronic opinions.  Even though I love amusement parks, I’m requesting no comments with Disney’s “It’s a Small World” lyrics, though.  That song gets stuck in my head, and I haven’t even been to the park.

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6 Comments

  1. kabsters

     /  June 7, 2010

    I live in one of the largest cities in the United States, Los Angeles, and it is shocking how small of a world it is out here. Especially in the entertainment industry. That’s why you never want to burn a bridge with someone I suppose.

    Reply
    • Excellent point. It’s incredibly easy to burn a bridge with just a comment on a social networking site. We have to be extremely careful!

      Reply
  2. Mary Christensen

     /  June 7, 2010

    When I was four years old (77 years ago) my world was truly small…happy, but small. Trips to town (3 miles), to church, and occasionally all the way to Grandma’s house (about 10 miles). Always surrounded by people who loved me, I assumed everybody’s world was as happy as mine. Of course that wasn’t true then, but the means of communication available now have opened the windows to what is going on thousands of miles away. Yes, it is a small world. And in too many cases, a hurting world.

    Reply
    • What a great reminder! I often use you as an example of how communication has changed, and how people can adapt to that change. Hope you don’t mind.

      Reply
  3. Mary Christensen

     /  June 8, 2010

    Mind? No, not at all. I used to talk about how things changed during my mother’s lifetime. She remembered when the local doctor bought an automobile; the first one in Evansville. But the changes in technology during my lifetime are even more impressive. Actually, sometimes I find them scary.

    Reply
  4. They are scary. We talk in my social media class about the importance of “staying ahead” of the trends. Sometimes, I’m not even sure I can keep up with the trends. The pace of change just continues to accelerate.

    Reply

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