At Blogher, i moderated a panel on "Sensitive Topics" and one of the things that the panelists said over and over again was how hard it was to handle the strangers who contacted them wanting their help. The thing is that to those public bloggers, these are strangers... but those strangers have been following that blogger's life for quite some time, drawing parallels, finding common ground, feeling connected. It's a devastating blow to realize that the blogger doesn't feel the same way. Without that connection, why should they get involved? Often, they do out of a desire to be helpful, a desire to not see someone in pain. This is manageable the first few times. But what happens when there are new people every day? What happens when there are hundreds of people every day?
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I’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate this division for months. I have not yet succeeded. So, instead, I decided to write addressing what I’m seeing. I suspect that this will be received with criticism, but my hope is that the readers who encounter this essay might be able to help me think through this. In other words, I want feedback on this piece.