Updated May 19, 2020
Online is real. What’s online is not virtual reality or almost real. What’s online is actually, completely, real. What’s online is different than what’s offline but it’s just as real as offline. Consider your online banking and the money you put into and take out of your online bank. Both your online bank and your online money are real. Your online money is different than the offline money in your pocket, purse, or wallet, but both types/forms of money are real.
The best way to talk about online and offline is to talk about, . . . well, talk about online and offline. Drop “virtual.”
Laurence Lessig (p. 298) also asserts that online is real: “People live
there [online]. They experience all the sorts of things that they experience in real space there [offline], and some experience more. They experience this, not as isolated individuals playing some high-tech computer game, but as part of groups, in communities, among strangers, and among people they come to know and sometimes like–or love [sic].”