No, “meat room”
Meatspace and Cyberspace
The word “flesh space” refers to the physical world in which we live. The term was invented as a contrast to the emergence of ‘cyberspace’, the interconnected virtual world of computers in which we interact. In a modern context, cyberspace would be everything online, while meatspace would be everything offline.
The term was used in the 1990s to refer to in-person gatherings and in-person events that would take place outside of the Internet. As with ‘cyberspace’ it also got across in the news media. Journalists would use it when referring to offline activities as the opposite of ‘cyberspace’.
While the exact origin of the term is unknown, it can be found in science fiction and cyberpunk novels written around the time of the worldwide web’s rise, such as that of Neil Stephenson. Snow crash. Many of these novels depict a world in which much of our daily life has been replaced or expanded with connected technologies. “Meatspace” is an ironic reference to the fact that living things are often referred to as “cuts of flesh” in the context of a futuristic setting.
Meeting in Meatspace
Many examples from the 1990s see the physical world as something very different from the virtual world. For example, a 1995 archive post obtained by Merriam-Webster describes meat room as “ regular events, social gatherings, hangouts. ” When someone “meets in meat room”, this refers to face-to-face interaction with an online friend or acquaintance.
Therefore, there are essentially two definitions of “meat room”. The first is the physical world – the actual things, places, and people you interact with on a daily basis. The other is an offline life that is different from your online life. This is especially true if you are part of many online communities that don’t necessarily have an offline component.
Cyberpunk and Futurism
While many of science fiction’s more bizarre predictions, such as flying cars, clone machines, and humanoid androids, aren’t widespread yet, one thing is. Part of the conceit of many 20th-century science fiction novels and movies is the idea that we will become increasingly connected to a virtual network of computers. Since almost everyone has a smartphone, this is more true today than ever. Most of the communication we have with friends and family members is online through video calls, text messages and social media updates.
However, many of these books view the virtual world and the physical world as two separate, different things. In practice, the line between meatspace and cyberspace has become increasingly blurred over the past decade. We depend on computers for the physical aspects of our daily lives, from using food and grocery delivery to obtain essential nutrients, to using a robust, detailed map app to navigate around while driving.
While rarely used in general conversations with other people, meat room is still a fascinating piece of Internet history. If you do use it, it can be a great conversation starter with people who are not very familiar with the term. For example, you could say to a friend, ‘Hey! We should meet in meat room! “
The modern successor to meatspace is the internet acronym IRL, which stands for ‘in real life’. While we’ve covered this term earlier in our explanation about it, IRL essentially means the same as meat room. It is used to delineate your normal everyday life and your online life, especially if the two don’t match.
An important thing to note is that the internet has changed dramatically since both terms were invented. Before social media became commonplace in the mid-2000s, being anonymous was the default way you used the Internet. In fact, users were encouraged not to use identifying information about themselves at all. With the emergence of apps such as MySpace, Facebook and Instagram encouraging users to upload photos of themselves, the difference between someone’s ‘real life’ offline and their life online became smaller and smaller.
In a way, we are always in both cyberspace and meatspace. We hope that this will give you the feeling that you are in a sci-fi movie.
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