In virtual worlds, users interact with each other by creating virtual identities through avatars. As the avatar creation process is constrained by the assumptions of designers who develop the avatar creation tools, some potential participants in virtual worlds are forced into narrow social roles that may not accurately represent them. Drawing on structuration theory and trust literature, we develop a research agenda that addresses how avatar-based technologies and user social identities may be mutually constructed and how identity misrepresentation may impact trust in virtual worlds. This paper demonstrates the importance of a discussion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issues in virtual worlds. These issues require additional research that should closely examine the ongoing changes both in the technology facilitating the virtual worlds, as well as the social landscape that governs issues of diversity in general, and gender issues in particular.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Management Information Systems
- Computer Networks and Communications