Digital dualism allows Turkle to write as though she is championing humanity, conversation, and empathy when ultimately she is merely privileging geography. Again, this can feel intuitive, because this fetishization of contiguity has a long tradition and is echoed in our everyday language: Each time we say “IRL,” “face-to-face,” or “in person” to mean connection without screens, we frame what is “real” or who is a person in terms of their geographic proximity rather than other aspects of closeness — variables like attention, empathy, affect, erotics, all of which can be experienced at a distance. We should not conceptually preclude or discount all the ways intimacy, passion, love, joy, pleasure, closeness, pain, suffering, evil and all the visceral actualities of existence pass through the screen. “Face to face” should mean more than breathing the same air. (Source)
A significant difference being not distance but mediation. Face to face tends to set aside mediation. It’s still there in the interfaces of spoken words, touch, the semiotics of gesture and pose, but we set it aside for a sense of the real. Digital mediation means reading artifacts (blog post, image) created by the real interaction and working in a different semiotic frame than that of face to face.