“What is real?”

That was the question a classmate asked in class two weeks ago. Blown to Bits use expressions like “real life” and “cyberspace” to differenciate between our everyday life and our life on the Internet. But, is there any difference between these two worlds?

Cyberspace is not a dream. Internet is composed by millions of computers interconnected. And, of course, they are reals. Well-known ones and zeros are electrical signals that are transmitted by cables or waves. It seems obvious because all these things are physical objects. But what happens “inside the Internet”, beyond the material? Let’s see some examples:

  • Messenger (and similars) allow users to be connected. They can chat and set up videocalls. Friends are sometimes far away from each other and this is one possible way of keeping in touch. Is this a fake communication? I don’t think so.
  • Lots of lonley souls have met on chats or specialized webs and now they are happy couples. First time they met face to face, they already knew each other in a certain sense.
  • Facebook let users share photos and comment them. Friends plan events that come true in “real life”. Even there are people who claim that “if it is not on Facebook, it never happend”.
  • Second Life is a project where users can create a customized avatar which lives in a “virtual world”. But this world is not as virtual as it looks. People can interact like in real world. They can socialize and trade. Companies such as Sony, Coca Cola or Microsoft (among many others) have set up business and they insert ads everywhere. US dollars can be interchanged in virtual dollars.
  • A lot of virtual shops sell books, clothes, videogames… and the purchased articles arrive our homes! Check your bank account and realize the cruel reality.

These examples prove that cyberspace is not a fantasy. It is as real as “real life”. Then, why is there this artificial difference between the two realities? The key is survival. Virtual world is dispensable: you do not need chating, buy online or public a photo (although you will stay behind because life is, in fact, digital). Unlike cyberspace, we have to survive in our daily lives: you have to study, you have to work, you have to earn money, you have to eat, you need human contact…

These facts make this life become the real life, the life that has always existed. But, nowadays, what is real? Everything.

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About mavillard

Graduate student of PhD. in Hispanic Studies at The University of Western Ontario.
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One Response to “What is real?”

  1. Pingback: How would a historian tag my blog? | 2011: A Digital Odyssey

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