Something is unsettling with me. Well, to be precise, something has been unsettling with me for a while.
It all started due to my observation- to my new friends, old friends, new environment and the old one- pretty much everything revolves around me. I try to take notice.
Among many things in my head, I’d like to write about “knowledge gap”.
Let’s say I have been observing the social media users’ behavior upon their like, love, comments and no-interactions. They all the source of my observation which actually could unfold many things.
So, what is the knowledge gap I am talking about right now?
Did you ever take notice to a popular post like food that everyone could relate? It’s becoming popular easily because people could relate- the relation built due to the shared knowledge. That’s the key words.
And in my observation, that’s what makes a post (be it a picture or a thought) about overseas can be infamous, or for many people can appear arrogant. (mind you, I aiming this piece for my fellow Indonesians)
It’s because many people (or some depending on your social media friends/followers) can not relate to you. And why is that? To my own theory, it’s because of the knowledge gap, i.e., something that you may experience on a daily basis may be foreign to them, or the food that you can buy only for a few bucks in the country where you are currently residing may be expensive for them, among others. In that situation, one thing that is just an ordinary stuff for you is becoming a source of arrogance for them (or for some of them). For you, you just want to share your daily life, so you can still communicate with those who are now continents apart, but it may not be the same case for them. Who knows your picture depicting a capitol of Washington DC or the liberty statue is taken as a means to show off by them. We’d never know and we could never guess. However, you could tell by their reactions upon their reactions on the post: some find it entertaining and educating, while others just simply don’t care or choose not to be bothered. I suppose, there are a few people who may think that you just wanted to brag or show off about your life, which may be essentially different from them. And just like any other differences in life, we need to treat them wisely and open-mindedly. The wrong treatment over differences often leads to misperception or even worse, misunderstanding .
Is knowledge gap something new? No, it is not. We have had it since we were kid, since we attended school. One thing that is very close is our relationship with our parents and later later on with our teacher. The relationship between a teacher and their student occurs due to the knowledge gap. Our teacher to whom we authorize our trust to be our “superordinate” in knowledge is the person who will endow their knowledge to us. In a traditional classroom (like the type we had when we went to school), students were usually “treated” as the inferior ones. We, as the students, submitted our trust to our teachers and are (expected to be) submissive. Complication often occurs when there were two or three students who tried to ask questions to the teachers, which for many appeared to “challenge” the teachers’ territory or their superodination. It may be rubbing their insecurity. Who knows.
(Masih inget kan gimana guru kita suka marah kalau ditanya dan kita dianggap nantang dan sok tahu? Lalu, kita dianggap nakal, sok tahu, songong karena itu, padahal mungkin di antara anak yang bertanya banyak yang benar-benar karena ingin bertanya, out of their curiosity about knowledge)
Nah, di ranah media sosial, hal ini juga bisa terjadi. If we take a look at the demographic friends on our social media (in my case, it’s Path), our connection is usually our friends who are at the same age with us (or with me). For many Indonesians, age is an important matter- suggesting if you are older enough, you are supposedly to be more knowledgeable or more experience, while otherwise is not normally appreciated. With this notion, the peers (or teman sebaya) should have at least the same amount of knowledge.
Complication happens when you share some of your overseas posts or thought reflecting your current knowledge, which may appear to be source of brag for some people. Again, one post that is only to capture a simple and daily life may appear to be an object of show off because of this knowledge gap. For you, the post is just projecting a piece of your overseas experience, but this may be something that is not relatable. Therefore, one post could be a source of problem. It can be construed as “sombong amat, postnya tentang jalan-jalan ke luar negeri mulu.”! or “males ah buka akun si x, isinya cuma jalan-jalan ke luar negeri.” Padahal mungkin itu cuma foto di jalan raya atau warung kopi aja! Tapi karena ada gap, persepsi bisa jadi jauh berbeda. Intensi tidak bertemu dengan persepsi. The intention may not be met due to the knowledge gap.
The complication could get worse, if you are at the same age with them, which in their mind should have the same amount of knowledge and experience. Thus, your willingness or better yet, your intention to share your thought and slices of everyday life may be construed differently by some of your social media connections. For you sharing is caring, while for others, your sharing could mean bragging.
And that one thing that I need to constantly notice, be aware of, and to pay attention to these days. I need to treat the differences wisely. I am not saying I have more knowledge, but I am just saying the knowledge is different due to the different experience. I may know one thing, but am in the dark for many many many other things in life. That is why I live by this principle “everyone you meet is a teacher”. I am convinced that there are always many things that others know that we know nothing about. Rather than, take other people’s posts as a source of arrogance, we may start to think that person is actually trying to communicate with you, about life that she is living so next time you and her meet up, you both can talk!
And, that’s what I do: I like it when people share about their children, their life, their experience that I know nothing about. It can be their post as a mom, parents, and many things that I have never experienced. Rather than taking their posts as bragging, I am taking them as their way to talk to their friends, including me. So everything is actually a source of learning. We just need to be wise in treating our differences, because being different and changing are the most natural and sustained phases in life.
Thus, it may be better to call this as “knowledge difference” than a gap. Yeah, I think I like this one better.
My two cents.
On one fine and shiny day in the Spring season,
at a local coffee shop
Nelly, Spring, 2016.