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Kevin Kelly has a fascinating piece on The Technium about the ways we create and interact with things “as if” they are real, propelling metaphor towards reality.

In this way the role and power of metaphor is rising in our culture. Our modern digital world is a metaphoric world. We make things real by first constructing them as a metaphor, an “as if” type.  Then we slowly deepen the metaphor, adding more layers of meaning and realism, until metaphor slowly passes whatever invisible barrier lies between the real and fake, and it becomes “is” — it becomes “real.”  Pinocchio is at last a real boy, earning the love of his mother.

This got me thinking about some of the more energetic efforts of fan communities, for example recreating Star Trek sets, costumes and even producing fan television series. The ease of distributing this “as if” content online attracts love and attention by fans of the fans. So Star Trek fans who re-create their favourite television series in effect become a favourite television series of other audiences. The metaphor becomes real.