Not the Next Best Thing

So, after forever and a day, this committed sociologist has finally decided that a blog is the next best thing.  Why?  Can’t say exactly.  Most of it is not something that I want to answer, as gestures towards answering it, in the social media genre, usually come in the form of a cheaply dressed up version of “why not?” rather than convincing or event sufficient answers to why.  And asking why not, my friends, changes the game.  As much as I like the idea of throwing caution to the wind in many circumstances, why not in the blogging universe seems, to me, to betray predominantly egoistic ends.  Biased?  Perhaps. The upshot is that, although I read some blogs, the thought of establishing one always seemed a pursuit of one or several unsavory intentions on the part of the author.  In short, I always thought you would start a blog to either:

1.  Demonstrate what an awesome academic, artist, writer or at least hopelessly (insert word here: e.g. funny, insightful, etc.) individual you are, bent on making inane but somehow meaningful observations about the world which, of course, others need to hear.

2.  Build that career “whatever” bolstered by a reputable but funny and quirky social media profile that reinforces/secures your self-esteem, a step up on the career ladder and/or your position within an industry.  After all, linkedin is a “must” nowadays and, as any dolt knows, that social media savvy just means you know what you’re talking about with regard to whatever because you  can do it and the social media stuff too.

3.  Spout off on whatever, to whomever will listen, just because you got something important to say and need to get it out into the ether, to “put it out there” (usually in the hopes of lots of people listening, thus demonstrating your need, more than anything, of finding that audience for your spout-worthy stuff).

4.  Share stuff, whether it be worship of Ryan Gosling, gossip about Britney Spears, or pics of your latest mundane and painfully boring exploits.

5.  Establish yourself as the next best thing, find your fifteen (or hopefully longer) minutes of fame, to be, well, important to the world.

None of these are bad reasons, altogether.  In fact, if it’s your business to be connected, it’s good motivation.  It has always, to a certain extent, however, left me more unsettled than anything else.  I don’t consider myself an expert on much in the world, wouldn’t want to put it out there necessarily if I did (in a form so public, that is) and have never had a particularly burning passion to redirect the world in one direction or another.  This is not to say that I don’t care or am ambivalent.  Truth be told, I do like to talk about issues, important events, etc.  With other people.  In conversation.  The idea that I would write my stuff down and post it for other people to read seemed so, well, wrong.

But I do like writing.  For most of my life, I have found it a far more beneficial and beautiful way of actually expressing my thoughts than actual conversation.  Let’s face it: sometimes conversation sucks–we often can’t either say what we mean or hear what other people have to say, especially when hard topics and emotions come into play.  In fact, sometimes when you want to talk about things, writing is a far better vehicle for both listening and being heard.  So I write.  Recently, I have started writing a lot.  As it turns out, I like writing about ideas, about politics, about people.  And, rather than tuck it away in a journal, I want that conversation–at least I want what I write to be part of a conversation, somehow.  My latest attempt would have been left in a word file as part of a conversation between me and my husband had it not been for the fact that he felt like everyone else needed to hear it.  Then, somehow, and somehow again, it was published.  Best of all, it led to more conversation.  Now, I am hooked.  My faithful one suggested I started a blog.  What?  Me?  Dunno about that.  

But I was intrigued, I guess.  It sounded better than Microsoft word or Facebook or anything else, after all.  Then I spent half a day playing with pictures and fonts and all kinds of techno stuff because I loved the creative process of it all.  So I set up a site.

Then I panicked.  What *gasp* if I can’t think of anything to write about?  What if it is not the next best thing?

Then, of course, I came back to writing and good conversation which are, more than anything, and end in themselves.  The beginning of the conversation is all that matters.  So, here I stand.  I can do no other.  I am not the next best thing, nor is this blog.  But that’s okay.  That’s not what matters.  What matters is the conversation, the ideas, the topics, and a shared experience of the world.  I write not to an audience, but to friends–past, present, and hoped for–in the search for meaningful conversation about stuff that matters.  We need not agree, nor do our ideas need to be set in stone.  If you happen across it, spout away.  Tell me everything.  Why?  I don’t know yet.  But there may be a good answer out there, and I am in for the ride.

So, that’s all for now.  It is late and evening, so I close this first round with the immortal words of Edward R. Murrow, “Good night, and good luck.”

About AL Aunio

Born in Boston and raised in working-class New Jersey, Anna-Liisa Aunio was awarded the Jon Bon Jovi “Dare to Dream” scholarship in 1992. She was 18. She had big hair. And it was the high point of her life. Been downhill ever since. But seriously, Anna-Liisa restlessly fled the lawns and picket fences of her youth first chance she got. Initially to New York City, where she traded on Wall Street (by day), whilst living like Carrie Bradshaw (by night); then to Baltimore, where she managed a national drop-out prevention program (by day), whilst living like Rick James (by night); and, most recently, to Montreal, where she teaches sociology at Dawson College (by day), whilst living like Claire Dunphy (by night). Along the way, she's picked up a few degrees—a BA from Rutgers, an MA from Johns Hopkins, a PhD from McGill—and a husband. But she'd prefer to talk about her kids.

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