Do Your Words Really Matter?

For the past 6 or so years, I’ve been logging my workouts on DailyMile, which is kind of like Facebook for fitness people. Instead of clogging my FB feed with my workouts – one of The Most Annoying Facebook Activities! – I took it somewhere else, where there are other people training for things, too.

It’s been great – through DM, I’ve actually met real people through the computer who have turned into good friends. It’s similar to how blogging was 10 years ago, actually – every one of my posts gets comments, and I get to follow other people’s stories – other people like me, who log their workouts daily. And even better, between writing in my journal and writing about my workouts on DM, I’d actually feel like I was writing on a daily basis.

Over the winter, though, when it was busy, I stopped commenting on a lot of other people’s workouts. And on the weekends, whenever I’d come in from a long bike ride and then a run, I just wanted to eat and shower, and then I felt pressure to spend time with my family, not log a workout and putter around.

So with this reading and social media break, I decided to stop logging my workouts there, too. It’s been freeing, in a lot of respects – just really nice to do a workout and come home and not have to find words to write about it. I can use that energy to find the words for my story, or maybe actually blog, instead of using my writing time for workout posts.

But then I went onto the site today, and I saw I had zero comments. I haven’t logged a workout there in almost a week, and no one has commented or wondered where I am.

And I was surprised to find myself feeling hurt by it. Wow, I’ve logged my workouts religiously for the past 6 years. Have they even noticed I’m gone?

Which, automatically, I told myself that I wasn’t posting on DM for comments, it was for myself. Because it’s the one place that has 6 years worth of ideas and feelings about my workouts and documents my evolution as an athlete. It’s not about the comments, Karen. It’s about so much more!

But the thing is?

It IS about the comments.

As much as I want to say I write only for myself, that’s not the truth. If I wanted to write only for myself, I’d keep a workout journal that would never see the light of day. Instead,  I put my words in a place where people can actually see them. As a writer, I actually want to know they’re not just hanging out there, dangling in the breeze; I want my words to have purpose. 

And I can’t help drawing a parallel to blogging and why I feel like I have such a hard time writing in this space sometimes. There are so many words out there, so much content, so much to read, so many voices out there, shouting their opinions.

Do my words really matter? Or am I being self-involved, adding to the noise of words that are out there already?

And am I being self-involved, wanting my words to actually reach someone’s ears? Can’t I just put them out there without needing them to have purpose? Take it on faith?

So yes, it really is – and isn’t – about the comments.

Do you ever wonder if your words are being heard?

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3 Responses to Do Your Words Really Matter?

  1. noemi says:

    Well, I think your words do matter. Things you have written here have changed the way I think, they have changed the way I see the world, the way I relate to myself and others. If that doesn’t matter, I don’t know what does.

    I understand what you mean, though, when you point out the fickle nature of social media. It’s one of the reasons I left FB, because I could feel I was participating in a lot of it for the wrong reasons and I needed a clean break from it to figure out what I really wanted to get out it, and what I really wanted to put into it too.

    I wonder a lot if what I put out into the world via my words means something, if it matters. I tell myself that I write what I do on my blog because it might help someone feel less alone, but I don’t know if the people who would actually feel less alone reading it will ever find it. Do your words matter if they never have the intended effect? That is what I wonder sometimes…

    But I do think your words matter, because they have touched me in profound ways, and I can’t say that about a lot of what I read.

    Thank you for writing.

  2. Deborah says:

    I feel like the nature of these social media sites means we’re never really sure the relationships mean the same thing to other people they mean to us. I think of my commenters, and the people whose blogs I read regularly, as my friends. But time and again, someone will start to blog less and then they’ll stop commenting. They don’t start corresponding with me in some other way, and then they just disappear from my life. And the excuse is always something related to blogging. But I feel like, if we really were friends, we’d find another way to stay in touch. It definitely makes me think that these friendships are not quite as strong as we think.

  3. sharah says:

    I just downsized my feed reader from over 200 to just 35 and you made the new list, so your words certainly matter to me 🙂

    I think it’s simply human nature to want to have our words heard; it’s affirmation that we exist, that we matter, that we are not alone. The internet has just given us the ability to have our words heard by people who aren’t physically located right next to us. Like face-to-face interactions, some of those connections will end up being tenuous and some of them will end up being relationships that last for years. And here I’ll remind you that I’ve been reading your words for over 7 years, even if we’ve never met in person.

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