Identity and Trust in Virtual Communities and Computer-Mediated Communication
Technological advances over the past two decades have led to increased use of computers in everyday life. While many people use the Internet for trivial tasks such as e-mail, others find that the Internet has become a way of life. The past several years have witnessed an upsurge of virtual communities. What do these virtual communities mean for real life? The impact of real life on these virtual communities, as well as the impact of virtual communities on real life, is reviewed. The dynamics of relationships formed on-line through these communities are not incredibly unlike those in face-to-face relationships. Erving Goffinan' s impression management theory is witnessed as having become a key part of maintaining identity on-line. The presentation of self is incredibly crucial in helping to develop and foster trust in virtual communities and on-line relationships, the main focus of this paper. The evolution of human behavior and thinking has progressed to adapt to new technology that has changed the way we interact with one another and created entirely new cultures in the form of virtual communities.