(Question 6 of 10)
Interestingly, I find that first impressions go a long way even when interacting with a “cartoon character” in a virtual world. There are real people behind each avatar the same ingrained rules of social interaction we use in the real world apply here. It is amazing how often a first impression of someone in second life is right on and I have learned to go with my gut when I meet people. Trust is built in Second Life the same way it is in real life, through interaction over time. You would not need to know someone’s full name, address and phone number in real life to get a sense of what kind of person they are. Yes, in Second Life, it is possible for people to hide behind avatars and misrepresents themselves… but over time, the illusion of the avatar will get chipped away and there is someone real behind it or there isn’t. Once trust has formed, there is no end to how far I will allow a friendship to go… people I meet in Second Life have become very good friends in real life.