I’ve been preaching for a long time that the web is where conversation happens today, period. It seems that everyone goes online at some point to talk about a company, a product, an issue or their personal lives. Using the web is like having access to an infinite number of backyard fences, a party line that never goes dead or gets dull.
In fact, online communication has become so ubiquitous that there is no longer any difference between the online world and the "offline" world — it’s all just "the world," and we live in it with little conscious realization of where offline ends and online begins.
Is Amazon a "real" store? Of course not. It exists only as strings of code, just like Second Life. Yet we believe Amazon to be real and Second Life to be virtual.
Is Amazon real because it sells what we consider "real" products? Again, the premise is flawed. I buy a book on Amazon and I can hold it and read it, because that’s the product’s purpose. I buy a book in Second Life and my avatar holds it and reads. Both things really happen, and both products do what they are supposed to do.
I’ve got news for you: every online destination is virtual. That’s just the reality.