On IRC you can tell people you are fine and they'll believe you. You can pretend your bad mood isn't there, and no-one can see the frown on your face. And if you pretend hard enough, you can even come to believe it yourself
However isolated the place you live in is, you can be among friends instantly
You can get close to people without giving up your personal space
When someone on IRC tells you they like you, you know it's you they like. Not because of how you look, what you have, or what you can do for them, but because of who you are
No matter how obscure the question, someone on IRC will have the answer.
You can play your music as loud as you like and still hear the conversation
You can be a participant rather than a spectator