Cyberspace can be called the virtual lands, with virtual lives and virtual societies, because these lives and societies do not exist with the same physical reality that ‘real’ societies do. With the emergence of cyberspace, the virtual becomes counterposed to the real. The physical exists in cyberspace but is reinvented. Virtuality is the general term for this reinvention of familiar physical space in cyberspace.
Power is the name applied to that which structures culture, politics and economics. Power has many forms and there are many theories of power, but each draws its relevance from the sense that power names the things that determine how a life may be lived.
Cyberspace now touches all lives. For some it has become as essential as the telephone or the letter. For others it is still a fearful whisper of technological promise. Sometimes we look on bemused, uncertain why all those little addresses that begin ‘http://’ appear in advertisements, and sometimes we are shocked by the possibilities, when a friend sends letters instantly across the globe through the telephone. When cables and phone lines are allied to computers, this parallel world of cyberspace is created. It is often called a virtual world because it does not exist in tangible, physical reality but in the light and electronics of communications technology. In the virtual world people live virtual lives, alongside their real lives, that may be as substantial as marriage and as insubstantial as checking a television guide. Even those uninterested in the virtual world are affected, often without their knowing. An automated bank teller gives us money because its communications in cyberspace authorise it to; after we have given our password and told an ATM what we want, it then uses a phone line to call a computer that decides whether our request is legitimate.