I do understand the difficulty of shifting behaviour from a realworld reserved disposition to becoming a more open, receptive virtual one. However, the opportunity to be willing to welcome a new connection is, of course, a critical element of virtual world socialisation.
Every week I augment my network with new connections. People I wouldn't have met otherwise. Therefore, I have shifted my normative 'conditioned' social cues in order to capacitate what must be in order to build organically iterative hubs of interlaced nodes (people) who potentially may find value in me or one another. I also make several new introductions between people who I perceive will be able to do business between one another, and this over international boundaries. I have only yesterday introduced Truls, CEO of www.EctoLearning.com with Henry, CEO of www.Trudox.com and so it goes, week in and week out. Its a new world online and a new way of engaging. I usually use some quite formal introduction language to allow each party to 'feel' as if they have been formally and properly introduced and this seems to help smooth the path.
Deprived of the normal visual cues, other than a static picture, we are often reluctant to form new alliances because we cannot build sufficient data to ascertain the 'raison d'etre' for this person in our world. Ive seen many people think that networking 'does itself' ...alas not the case. Someone must hold out a hand and another must grasp it. Not in all cases, but more often than not.