» When IRL and Online Blur HouseOfBrew – Unplugged and Brewed

When IRL and Online Blur

I’ve been communicating using a computer
for over 20 years now.  From BBS‘s on my Commodore64 (at 128 baud) to ICB on a RS232 Terminal server to IRC to ICQ to Twitter, not much has changed.  The veterans of the services connect daily with friends.  There’s new friends to meet, and people who think like you do.  However, just like the physical world, beware: there’s a fair share of creepers, douche canoes, trolls, and spammers in anything not completely private and PAID for.

When you’re a veteran of chatting online,
you find yourself in a routine of digitally connecting with people each day.  Morning coffee with friends is done sitting physically alone with a coffee and your computer – sharing jokes, saying “Good morning”, and exchanging links (the IRL version of passing a newspaper or magazine article across the table).  It doesn’t matter that you’re hundreds or thousands of miles from each other.  The #coffee clutch is something you don’t want to miss.  In fact, when you do – you feel a bit empty inside all day long.  You can always tell who’s matured in the digital chat space – they normally have a found a home of like minded people to chat with instead of randomly communicating with the world.

Hugs and handshakes always feel good.
There’s no doubt that physical contact with other people is something everyone needs.  However, why don’t we consider our interactions online “In Real Life (IRL)”?  This is, in fact, my life.  It’s quite real.  It doesn’t have to be in real time, but at times it is.  Is “In Real Life” only meant for the physical world?  As everyone else matures in their digital life, will we refer to it as “In the Physical World (IPW)”?  Whether you are a digital native or a digital immigrant – just take a minute to reflect next time you or someone else uses the phrase “In Real Life”.

What is your “real life” – I bet it’s a combination of activities online AND offline.

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  • http://www.instantdane.tv Dane Findley

    Yes, it’s VERY possible to be within physical proximity of people, and still have no authentic bond. Just because someone is “there” doesn’t mean that they’re fully present. Hand-written personal notes, phone calls, smoke signals, instant messages — who cares? It’s the intention behind the communication that determines the quality and degree of intimacy.

    Very much enjoyed this post!

  • http://twitter.com/FossilDesigns Fossil Designs, LLC

    I think “IRL” or some acronym like it will always be the physical world. For example, you and I have met, shaken hands, and traded jokes so I can say I know you IRL, or physically. While I understand your point about this being “real time” and real world even though iti s digital, I think there will always for one reason or another be a distinction between having physically met someone and only digitally knowing them.

    Where that line is bound to get blurry is video chat, because now I can see your face, hear your voice, see you facial expressions and some mannerisms and so I have an idea of how you are in the real world even though our interactions are simply the swapping of electrons, or digital ones.

    It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how attitudes around this change.

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