Digital Dualism

What Does Digital Dualism Mean?

Digital dualism is the belief that the on and offline are largely separate and distinct realities. Digital dualists view digital content as part of a "virtual" world separate from a "real" world found in physical space.


This term was coined by Nathan Jurgenson, founder of the Cyborgology blog, in 2011.

Techopedia Explains Digital Dualism

The notion of digital dualism is becoming increasingly unpopular thanks in large part to the wide use of social media. Rather than keep the digital and physical world separate, technology such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are often being used to connect people both in the virtual world and offline. This occurs, for example, when people network online and then meet those virtual friends to form a deeper relationship in person.

Technology is so engrained in our daily lives that the virtual and physical worlds have a lot more overlap. As a result, many people simply accept the virtual world as part of reality, rather than something that’s separate from it. In this case, the virtual world is considered to be a reflection of the real world. In fact, Jurgenson developed the term to argue that digital dualism is a fallacy.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.