I've been known to use "offline" as the opposite of "online" for the reason she mentioned--it's the circuit that's virtual, not the person on the other end. I don't consider online friends to be in a lesser category than normal friends--partially because I couldn't get away with it considering my distribution of friends, but also because they don't deserve it. Darci, Liz, Rachel and Ian are as much my friends as Michael, Ryan, and Kevin, my offline console-gaming and lame-movie-shooting buddies--and in some ways more so, because I feel closer to them. I doubt any of my offline friends could make me as worried as two of the people on that list have. ;^)
I've mentioned this before, but I'm lucky enough to have a parent who can understand online friendships--one of my mom's best friends lives in Canada, and they talked on e-mail for a long time before meeting in person. (Their connection? Both fans of the band Del Amitri.) She has lots of other online friends, too, and she's even had them stay at the house a few times. She's also seen me interact with Darci--in Las Vegas, Irvine, and Britain--and understands that I care about my online friends a lot. I'm very thankful for that fact.
I'm also thankful for the fact that my brother's constantly glued to the phone, talking to his girlfriend--it makes my phone use of late seem reasonable. ;^)
 Semi-obscure technical reference--the TCP/IP connections that most Internet transmissions travel over are sometimes called "virtual circuits" because they're theoretically indistinguisable from connecting the two computers with a physical electric circuit. For some reason I like that term...
 Shadow/Aurora and Lights/Sheldon, among others, probably belong on that list too--but it's too long as it is, and those four are pretty much the only ones I think of by birth name instead of screen name.