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IRL is a slang term that means “In Real Life.” It is one of several acronyms used in social media and online communities to describe the difference between online life and offline life. The acronym has come under criticism for being too anti-technology, or anti-internet.

Critics of the acronym maintain that IRL is prejudiced against online activity, by insinuating that online activity is not “real.” Another term offers a less biased perspective: AFK, which means “away from keyboard.” The term essentially carries the same meaning, but its proponents argue that it is not prejudiced against online life. The opposite of IRL is AFRL, or “away from real life.”

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IRL