I was meaning to write this piece a little while ago. I think I had discussed it with Nev, it was in conversation about how when the Christchurch quake hit, my first thoughts were of my two favourite Stuff bloggers Margaret and Moata. Strange, because I've never actually met them, they don't know me, I don't even really post comments on their (always excellently written) blogs. Now put down on a piece of paper (or imprinted in pixels), it actually seems a bit weird/stalkerish/crazypants. I'll give you that. The closest I can get to explaining is, that they're a bit like having awesome imaginary friends, that you don't have to go to the trouble of making up.
The internet has created a global community which has increased every ones circle of friends*, well, rather "people you know" and as a result has led to a greater amount of empathy. In fact, it has been quite interesting watching the twitter feeds and blogposts as people passed information back and forth about loved ones. Letting people know you're okay, has been made more efficient by status updates on facebook. It's comforting to know, that in case of emergency, you can let your family know how you are in 120 characters or less.
*Not necessarily including Chris O'Donnell**
**Unless he's on Twitter, I really should check that out