"IRL" means online, tooIt's time to recognize the reality of our digital lives

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There's a habit people have of referring to the offline world as "real"... as in IRL, or "in real life". The implication is that the online world isn't real, and that the portion of our lives spent there somehow doesn't count.

Alex challenged this idea in a blockbuster blog post on Harvard Business Review, 10 Reasons to Stop Apologizing for Your Online Life, where she argued that this artificial division causes real harm - offline and online:

It's not the Internet itself that leads to pathologies like cyber-bullying, spam and identity theft. Rather it's our decision – individually and collectively – to separate the Internet from the context, norms and experience that guide human behavior. It's our decision to engage in online interaction as if it were fundamentally different from offline conversation. It's our decision to label the Internet as something – anything! – other than real life.

Alex was featured yesterday morning on WNYC's Brian Lehrer show, talking about this in more depth with some examples - including how she took her own advice while responding to a hostile comment on the original blog post.

The conversation continues to unfold on Twitter, on Alex's blog, on her HBR blog and on a growing number of other blogs. Why not join in?

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