Well, not the term as such, but its common usage.
I know where it’s coming from and it may even make a certain sense, but still. I dislike it. A lot. Assuming you all know the term I’ll spare you the definition, you all know where google is.
Referring to your local social circle, be it at school, at work or at your gym as “IRL” (in real life) may seem logical at first, but – to me – it’s actually rather bad taste, and in some situations downright offensive.
The fact that it’s often used carelessly makes it even worse in my opinion.
By using that term when talking to people you primarily speak online, you basically imply that you don’t consider those people part of your life.
They are gone when you disconnect or turn away.
You insinuate that they don’t have an impact on you, that you don’t actually care about them. They are not important. Not real.
I don’t assume that everyone using that term uses it with intent to hurt, harm or offend, I just guess people don’t give much thought to it. Maybe we all can try to stop doing that.
Or as a friend said: People seem to have this weird sense of separation, as if the technology prevents meaning. Especially when, in reality, the opposite is actually true. Technology enables a lot more than it takes away.
Just think about the people you’ve met “online”, those you talk to regularly. Those you’d never have met if it wasn’t for the internet that you so cruelly separate from your “real life” by using those three letters.
Would you be the same person without them? Would you have experienced the same things? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have.
So yes, all of those, all of YOU are part of my real life. Part of what made me who I am.
I will not debase that by sticking the IRL sticker to things or people that just happen to be geographically close enough to me so I can interact with them without the internet between us.
I’m not saying it’s wrong per se to distinguish between your internet interactions and whatever you do with your body. Just please, please don’t go around saying one is less real than the other.
There are enough words out there to make up your own terms of it, if you really feel you have to.
In the end, do what makes you happy, but think of what the people on the other side might feel. They’re real, too.