Offline Goes Online: Real-World Activities That Have Gone Digital

On January 10, 2018 by Muelo

As we move into 2018 (and all the wonderful things I fully expect to happen), a strange thought has started to manifest; could this be the year that we go digital? Now, I’m not talking about Skynet apocalypse-type stuff but look around because as far as I can see, everything is going online. And while it probably won’t result in the downfall of mankind, it is a little unsettling.

Are human interactions becoming obsolete? Maybe not, but we are spending a lot more time online, and it could have something to do with that expensive piece of tech sitting right there in your pocket.

Smartphone Madness

It seems that no matter where you look these days, you’ll see someone using a smartphone. From paying your bills to playing poker online, if you can think of a real-world activity then there’s probably an app for that. In fact, in the last four years, the time we have spent online via a smartphone has increased significantly across the globe.

Those Brazilians do love their mobile devices. Source: Statista

Are we spending more time with Siri because she (or he) has a lovely voice or are we all just getting very good at Candy Crush and Temple Run?

Yeah, it’s neither of those. The truth is almost everything we do is going online, or we can at least handle it in a digital sense. Think of your calorie counter apps and the thousands of songs you have on your phone. It’s all going digital.


For years now, we’ve seen more and more of our financial activities going online, but it seems that in the last year or so, we’ve turned a magical crypto-corner and stumbled into a world of imaginary money.

Okay, so cryptocurrencies aren’t quite imaginary, but you get the point. Money is going digital even without Bitcoin and Ethereum and whatever the rest are called. Gone are the days of interminable queues at the bank as we embrace the convenience of PayPal, cryptocurrencies and paying for everything with your card. In fact, can anyone remember what real money feels like?

Human Contact and Interaction

Stand on a busy train platform and you’ll notice that each one of the scores of commuters around you have one thing in common: That hunched over posture as they stand enraptured by social media feeds on their smartphones. In fact, so dependent are we on the smartphone for 24/7 entertainment that we think the person simply standing there waiting on the train is a bit of an oddball.

Social interaction for the win! Credit© Source: Terry Robinson / Flickr

But it’s not just train platforms. Restaurants, pubs, waiting rooms, and even family gatherings are often bereft of human interaction as we spend more and more time in the land of likes and shares.

Even the world of romance, that last bastion of pure physical human contact has gone digital. There was a time when saying that you met your new squeeze online was an embarrassing admission that you couldn’t handle real-world dating. But these days everyone meets online. It’s bizarre, but I suppose it’s good for those introverts that genuinely can’t handle social gatherings.


Remember when we all used to giggle at the guy in the office who bragged of doing all his Christmas shopping on eBay? How we laughed at the ridiculousness of purchasing items that we didn’t get to touch and feel before handing over our cash. Well, who’s laughing now? eBay and every other online shop owner in the world that’s who.

Shopping online hasn’t just become popular, it’s become essential. Can you imagine the trials and tribulations of having to go to an actual shop to buy a boatload of gifts on Christmas Eve? Well, you probably can, but nevertheless, shopping online is the way forward and not just for gifts. From groceries to clothes to electronics, ordering all your stuff online saves so much time; the time you can spend on more important things like checking Facebook or Tinder.


Fancy a bet on the horses but don’t really like the atmosphere down at the racetrack? Feel like some bingo but can’t deal with the crowds on a Tuesday afternoon? Well, worry no more. As you are probably aware, gambling online is big business these days with even lotteries going online. No more mad rushes to the corner store to get your ticket before the deadline.

And then there’s poker. At one time, poker was a game reserved for high rollers at casinos or a bunch of buddies sitting around the kitchen table and playing for pennies. These days, though, poker is a whole different ball game (or should that be card game?). With more and more people turning to online poker rooms and video poker, the game and the possibility of winning some cash has been opened to an increasing number of people.

Aside from the rules, online poker is a totally different experience to its real-world counterpart. No smoky casinos, no nervousness at another player being able to read your terrible poker face and best of all, no shame at being at bang-average player. It’s online, so no one can see you anyway. As it happens, playing poker online is a good way to practice, and you can always bet small until you improve your game.


When it comes to entertainment, Netflix changed the game. They brought a whole new meaning to sitting at home watching a movie, and no, we’re not talking about “Netflix and chill.” To be able to sit at home and order a movie without even leaving the sofa is the peak of human technological progress. We can stop now. We’ve reached the top.

But you know it’s not going to stop, right? The world of gaming is going through a massive change right now as we see more and more gaming companies make efforts to bring the gaming world into augmented reality. It’s a strange one as it combines the digital world with your real-time environment, so it’s not quite leaving the offline world.

Then you have the countless gaming sites where folk go to spend their free time. No more pool down at the local pool hall, you can play it online. No need to go bowling because the Wii has you covered there. Paintballing or hunting? Call of Duty is the answer. I can totally see the attraction though. You can’t really dodge enemy fire in the real world if you’ve got a pizza on your lap.

As you can see, we’re moving along nicely toward a purely digital age. I suppose all we’re waiting on now is for digital cuisine or digital bike rides. Sounds crazy, right? But if there’s one thing you can be sure of it’s that if people want it, it will happen. In fact, come to think of it, our friends in Russia may have already come up with something similar, after all, they do like to play with their food.

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