Thought-provoking article  by Nathan Jurgenson to remember when next your elderly relative accuses you of being anti-social because you’re using a smartphone: The IRL Fetish

“Digital information has long been portrayed as an elsewhere, a new and different cyberspace, a tendency I have coined the term “digital dualism” to describe: the habit of viewing the online and offline as largely distinct. The common (mis)understanding is experience is zero-sum: time spent online means less spent offline. We are either jacked into the Matrix or not; we are either looking at our devices or not. When camping, I have service or not, and when out to eat, my friend is either texting or not. The smartphone has come to be “the perfect symbol” of leaving the here and now for something digital, some other, cyber, space.”

It is wrong to say “IRL” to mean offline: Facebook is real life.

Facebook doesn’t curtail the offline but depends on it. What is most crucial to our time spent logged on is what happened when logged off; it is the fuel that runs the engine of social media. The photos posted, the opinions expressed, the check-ins that fill our streams are often anchored by what happens when disconnected and logged-off. The Web has everything to do with reality; it comprises real people with real bodies, histories, and politics. ”

Jurgenson, N. 2012. The IRL Fetish. Available at: http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/the-irl-fetish/ [Accessed: 23 Jan 2014].