Virtual Reality as a term (and when it actually came into use) has been widely disputed, there are many definitions for the phrase. In the 1860s, French playwright Antonin Artaud postulated that illusion was not actually distinct from reality, therefore advocating that audiences at a play should suspend their disbelief and regard the drama taking place on stage as an actual reality.
However, one of the first references to our more modern understanding of the term comes from the 1935 short story “Pygmalions Spectacles” written by Stanley G WeinBaum, in which he described a goggle-based system with holographic representations of fictional experiences including smell and touch.
In actuality, the term ‘virtual reality’ can be used to define any construct that doesn’t exist in the real world, but we can perceive it as existing. The Internet is a good example, thousands of people interact with it everyday to live, to work and to play, it aids learning, handles communications among many other tasks and many other uses, but its physical elements are nothing more than a collection of interconnected wires and bits of hardware that store and process information and information requests. Our perception of it gives it a reality, a presence in the real world, and when we interact with it, we are interacting in a virtual one. Its an interesting symbiotic relationship, with something that doesn’t actually exist, but in a large number of cases “lives” could not exist without it.
In 1999 the Wachowski brothers released the movie The Matrix on the world, and postulated that our whole existence was nothing more than an illusion, a hologram, a virtual reality presented to us, to keep us tame and manageable (as we were in fact an energy source for a race of machines). It’s an interesting premise and I’m sure many of us agree that it makes a good science fiction film, but what is our reality?
As Internet Marketers, our livelihoods exist in the virtual world, we spend much of our working days perfecting out Internet presence and reputation, building our subscribers lists and presence in expert and niche forums, those that are applicable to our sales activities. It’s easy to lose touch with the reality that you are dealing with actual people and their needs and requirements.
Whilst our business exists in a virtual realm like this, the output and benefits of that business all materialize in our reality, as we build the virtual side, we should never lose sight that we are marketing and appealing to people, real human beings in the real world.
Virtual Reality and Holographic technology is finally gaining traction in the technology workspace, but we often miss that much of todays commerce and lives exist extensively in the virtual space. The virtual is becoming the reality. In light of this, continue to treat people based on their emotional desires, what they really want from your products and service, and never try to replace good quality customer service and extra mile tasks with machinery and flashy lights.