My time on gaia has helped me in my ability to articulate my thoughts and express my opinions in a public setting.
I lurked like a crazy on here for a very long time, but slowly I have felt more free to say what I think about any topic. As someone who is very quiet IRL and tends to feel awkward a lot, it has really helped me feel that my opinion does matter, and that no one will hate me for speaking up about what I think (or even if they do hate me, it doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things).
It has possibly made me more sociable offline in general and able to open my mouth and just speak without over-analyzing, and that really means a lot to me.
Aside from consuming hours upon hours of my time and making me a less productive member of society, Gaia has influenced me to be much more embracing of my nerdy passions like art and anime than I would be otherwise. I think I'm happier for it and I'm glad I learned to be comfortable with indulging my geekiness now and then.
I discovered that one of my roommates is on Gaia because I randomly was freaking out about zomg lagging and she heard it. XD Came barreling into my room and we've been chit chatting about Gaia on occasion since then. It's gotten me to be a bit more open about talking about gaia. A lot of my guy friends are gamers and this is my version of it. /lame