It’s always been real to me, whether we’re IRL or not

Monday, 25 February, 2013

I’ve never liked the use of the term “in real life”, or IRL, to distinguish our off-line interactions with others from those conducted online, or in cyberspace. I’ve always seen communication, or conversation, that takes place online, being for the most part, a simple extension of our on-going, and very real, day-to-day dealings with people.

And while Massively multiplayer online role-playing game environments, such as “World of Warcraft”, and the like, may be possible exceptions, they’re another story.

I don’t think though too many people go along with the notion that “cyberspace” is some sort of alternative reality anymore, but had more articles like the one Michael Lind wrote recently been in circulation 15 plus years ago, the sentiment might have been dispelled much earlier on:

If you’re not convinced by now that the very notion of cyberspace is silly, try substituting “fax” or “telephone” or “telegraph” for “cyber” in words and sentences. The results will be comical. “Activists denounced government criminal surveillance policies for colonizing Fax Space.” “Should Telephone Space be commercialized?” Again, the point is not that telecommunications should not be structured and governed in the public interest, but rather that the debate about the public interest is not well served by the Land of Oz metaphor.

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