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O.R.L. – Online Real Life

Online Real Life (ORL).

A play on the abbreviation for IRL:

Abbreviation for “In Real Life.”

“Often used in internet chat rooms to let people you are talking about something in the real world and not in the internet world.
“I totally hate that guy IRL!”

I have been thinking about how our networked lives are now online and real life all the time. It gives reason to come up with new ways to describe this experience. By using ideas like ORL, we can confront the problem of “digital dualism” when describing our everyday experiences of life. For me, ORL is all about the tools and infrastructure that many people have access to though their mobile phone subscriptions and data plans. Right now most Americans have mobile phones with voice and text subscriptions. Almost half of them have smartphones with data plans that push and pull information across mobile networks for mobile apps. And yet, most people still have trouble using them. Also, there always seems to be a better way ‘to be’ real while experiencing a networked world in real life whether you think you are online all the time or not.

Your online life is your real life.