Reading the Day Logs and various new nodes as they appear seems to be doing me a subtle harm. 3 everythingians spring immediately to mind as people who's lives are going badly at the moment. The problem I have is that I want to help. I think of these people throughout my day.
The barrier between the outside world and my emotions is almost non-existent. The pain expressed in some nodes hits me directly in the heart. The bravery of some writeups has brought me almost to tears.
I wonder if it's the apparent safety of the net that has given people the strength and confidence to write directly from the heart. I'd probably agree that this safety is allowing me to be more sympathetic to others' problems.
But the net also acts as a barrier. Were I to meet someone who was having problems in person, we may hug or cry together; our communication would be augmented by body language, touch and so forth. I can't hug someone on the net, they can't see me cry and I can't wipe away someone's tears.
I try to reach out, but every communication seems shallow and patronising. Why on earth should my few lines of text make someone feel better? I've emailed, /msg'ed in #everything and thought about sending real mail. Many times I've deleted an email before sending; my words just don't seem enough. Typing "/me hugs someone" just doesn't seem enough. A smiley doesn't convey the sadness and sympathy that would be evident in my eyes.
All I want to do is help. Being unable to help kills small parts of me, deep inside.