Despite Nick Yee’s study that people carry social norms over to virtual environments (such as standing their avatars far enough away from each other that you’re not considered a ‘close-talker’) there’s one difference i’ve started to observe – people let their guard down a bit.
Both former Senator Mark Warner’s and Warner CEO Edgar Bronfman were interviewed in Second Life. Reading the transcripts you find an openness which is really refreshing. For example, here’s a sample from the Bronfman interview conducted by the Reuters embedded reporter:
AP: So, you have seven children, have you ever caught any of them using Gnutella or Limewire or the P2P network?
EB: I have. I explained to them what I believe is right, that the principle involved is that stealing music is stealing music.
Does this question get asked and answered in a real world press conference? Is there something about being interviewed by an avatar that makes you more conversational and less filtered?