In the modern day, there appears to be a dichotomy between how we divide our time in the real and virtual world. A quick scan of the internet will often throw up an article bemoaning the lack of face-to-face interaction or how we are losing ourselves to technology as a species.
Although this may be true in some respects, nobody can contest the fact that digital interactions are now integral parts of our lives. With this in mind, does there have to be a conflict of interest between what we do online and our real-life (IRL) activities? And if so, is one necessarily better or more beneficial than the other?
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Our Gaming Interactions
Social games such as Farmville throw up many interesting points of discussion. While they may be a great way to spend your free time, the end result is largely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. In contrast, planting an actual herb garden brings with it the same sense of satisfaction as well as something tangible which you can enjoy and share with others.
In terms of games that you can enjoy both online and IRL, poker is a great example of how both mediums have their own advantages. Online poker is now back in the US and as a result, players can enjoy various different welcome bonuses that aren’t afforded to them in brick and mortar casinos. On the other hand, some players would argue that they prefer the social interaction associated with visiting their local establishment and seeing their friends. Either way, either choice could easily be put down to personal preference – although in the case of poker in particular, many say that they enjoy the ability to practice online before hitting the land-based poker rooms.
Transactions and Purchases
In many ways, online payment systems have made our lives much easier when it comes to paying our bills or handling other transactions. Although the older generation still seemingly prefer to do their business in person in a physical setting, most people would agree that it’s preferential to make payments online.
Online shopping, however, is an altogether different animal. Despite the various offers and discounts when shopping online, the inability to try clothes and shoes on still irks, and some shoppers still prefer to do their shopping in a store. However, it’s fair to say that the large majority of people enjoy a combination of the two depending on their circumstances, and the online and IRL shopping worlds can seemingly co-exist (at least for the time being).
The evolving nature of our relationships has changed the way we interact with our friends. Consider Facebook and its handy reminders sent in the form of notifications when someone on your list has a birthday coming up. The modern-day social media user now seems more miffed if you haven’t written on their wall as opposed to the lack of a birthday card or present.
It’s also true that people now enjoy exclusively online relationships with other users and the feelings attached to them are demonstrably as real as IRL friendships. Ultimately, a mixture of both types of friendships is what the large majority of individuals currently enjoy, and this seems like a healthy balance on paper.
An Ever-Changing Landscape
It’s fair to assume that as time moves on, technology will play an increasing part in our lives. Does this also mean that more of our interactions and chores will take place online as opposed to IRL? Not necessarily.
After all, the clambering for face-to-face interaction has led many to abandon their online quests and go back to doing things the traditional way. In the long run, however, the added convenience of completing our daily tasks online will probably too big of a draw for us to simply ignore.