The blurring of the real and virtual worlds, and the tensions this creates, will be a key issue for brands in 2014 and beyond, writes Nicola Kemp in our latest 'Forward 50' trends piece.

Digiphrenia: virtual identities
Digiphrenia: virtual identities

While mention of Second Life might feel like something from a bygone age, the chasm between consumers' real and virtual selves remains - even if they have replaced their avatar with a perfectly posed Facebook profile picture.

Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff coined the term "digiphrenia" to describe the confused mental state that comes with having too many identities running in parallel.

Marketers would do well to remember the sometimes dramatic differences between consumers' online personae and opinions and their real-life actions and purchase decisions.

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