Yeah, that's what we call the RealWorld. It's a fun place. Hardest role playing game of them all.
Kind of twisted. Everyone needs a digital watch there.
The non-RealWorld thing gets denigrated. "That won't work in the RealWorld." Often, academia or politics are distinguished as being not the RealWorld. This suggests that the only thing that is really real is dog-eat-dog business, and that other pursuits can be quietly tolerated, but are basically irrelevant to the RealWorld and what is really important.
The other possibility is that someone says "this isn't the RealWorld" as a way of claiming that whatever standards of social behavior apply in the RealWorld don't apply where they are. People do awful things all the time on IRC, and justify themselves by saying it isn't real. The same problem happens on parts of UseNet.
Indeed, both of these problems, while seemingly opposite, are the same issue: claiming that the standards of the RealWorld are somehow better and superior or more realistic or whatever, than in whatever supposedly non-RealWorld place one is in.
It might be that people use the term RealWorld when referring to events, situations, or activities that manifest themselves primarily in MeatSpace. CyberSpace and MeatSpace can be considered as distinguishable parts of the RealWorld.
RealWorld automatically conjures up a distinction between the real and not so real, i.e. virtual world.
The basic concept of VirtualReality is based on a closed realm exclusively created for one person from RealLife, who leaves his identity behind to become the so-called avatar in this virtual world, where he usually is empowered in special ways, like creator-capabilities, flying etc.
The most import aspect of a VirtualReality yet is the arbitrariness of one's action. If I do wrong, it does not feedback on me. If I dislike what happened, I just rewind. If I die: New Game (Y/N)?
The RealWorld in contrast, being driven by the principle of causality (there are always cause and effect) strongly restricts our possibilities.
In economic-speak one speaks of "positive" and "normative" statements, "positive" being analogous to RealWorld. One could more or less equivalently speak of "objective" vs. "subjective" (respectively).
This, of course is why economics is referred to as the Dismal Science.
If someone asked me to give my impression of the RealWorld, I would have tell them:
"Two words: TerraIncognita?."
My orienteering skills are way below average for someone my age, and always have been relative to my age at the time. In the rubrics of unreal world denigration described above, that would probably make me "below average" in a very general sense.
For the last year or so, I have been toying with the idea that maybe I have a right not to be ashamed of this apparent fact. Until then, I was preoccupying my mind and perhaps too many of my other resources with proving to myself and more importantly to others that appearances were misleading concerning this alleged fact. This new unashamedness has a queasy feel to it that is at once quieting and discomforting.
Soneone once suggested in the UseRealNamesDiscussion entry that the appropriate name to use at the MeatballWiki (or any other community that takes itself more seriously than a masquerade ball) would be the same name one would use on one's resume. The practice recommended by that contributor is a courageous one indeed. The technology to do what an SQL geek would call a "table join" is at least as old as the technology of double entree beekeeping, so the consequences of using the same identity in both the public domain and in the RealWorld are profound indeed.
I cannot hear "in real life" used to refer to MeatSpace without cringing, and usually bringing up the point that CyberSpace is, actually, real. Perhaps futile, but an important point to make. -KatWalsh
Kat, I agree with you. Perhaps some day it will be the other way round, only projects and persons that exist online will be considered real. -- HelmutLeitner
No discussion of the phrase "the real world" could possibly be complete without at least some mention of "fantasy worlds" or "imaginary worlds". These are worlds that we know aren't real, but which nonetheless provide substantial value in our lives.
see also SoftSecurityInMeatSpace