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Posts Tagged ‘alts’

I’ve found that when people create alts, an interesting thing happens: It seems to intensify their personality. When I’ve met people in their alt form they’re usually acting more intensely – more in your face, or more nice, or more cruel, or more honest, or even more funny. In turn, I also find that my reaction and first impressions of the alt reveals various truths about the original account holder. Let me explain with a few examples because I find this an interesting point and will be basing some further conclusions on it. In each of these examples I had no idea when I met the alt that they were an alt.

Friend #1 created an alt who I thought acted somewhat superior and exclusive, I had to be careful what I said and did around her, but when I acted the way she wanted I got plenty of reward from it and she made me feel special. Once I found out who she really was I realised that this matched what other people had been trying to tell me about her original account and how she made them feel. I realised that there was a lot of truth in it and I just happened to be in her inner-circle, and that sometimes I did have to do certain things to stay there.

Friend #2 created an alt who I thought was very funny, intelligent and intriguing. I instantly liked him and wanted to spend time with him. In fact, he created many alts and every single time I met them I thought “wow, you’re awesome!”. This realisation helped me appreciate my original friendship with them again – it had fallen by the way-side and I re-realised why I enjoyed their company so much.

Friend #3 created an alt who was cheeky and reserved. The alt had an intense precense in the room and people seemed to gravitate to him. He was impossible to ignore, even when he was silent o.O. When I found out who he really was I realised this was a side of his personality I had only dimly been aware of, but that it had always been there. We became closer friends over time, and I came to see that it was indeed a major truth of who he was.

And let’s end with a baddy: Supposed-friend #4 created an alt who came directly up to me and tried to push me out the pub (Three Lions). They attacked me verbally and physically, but were unable to express themselves clearly or convincingly. They got banned by a friend of mine at the time. When I figured out who they were I also realised they were an intensified version of the nasty judgmental and blind aspect of her personality which I had been aware of but hadn’t seen in full unbridled bloom until then.

So here’s the thing, every alt I am aware of encountering has revealed or reminded me of some truth of the original account holder. More often than not it has in turn changed my reaction to the original account holder, with the new realisations in mind. But this also tells us something about alts: A lot of people use alts to escape themselves / “play” someone else who they’d rather be. It appears though that the fundamental personality still comes through and is perhaps ultimately inescapable. No matter how much we try to hide ourselves, our words and our actions – even in a virtual world – reveals things we may not even be aware of ourselves. I realised a while ago that Second Life is not really an escape – if you’re miserable in real life that comes through too. So it’s not surprising that creating alts to escape the original account isn’t particularly successful either.

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An alt is an “alternate account” in SL – where there is no connection between your original identity (for example, me as “Landsend Korobase”) and the new name you set up (for example, me as.. yeah right, like I’d tell everyone my alts..). That is, unless you choose to tell people who you are, which typically goes against the reason for setting up an alt in the first place. And this is what this first alt post is about:The reasons for setting up alts.

The Trickster. The trickster sets up their alt just to play jokes on their friends, to see them squirm, or to grief other people without consequences. Often involves maliciousness. Funny and clever tricks can be done on the original account without need of an alt. I am not a fan of this use of alts.

The Escapist: The person using an alt to escape from their friends and from the consequences for their actions. Sometimes they use an alt to escape from a stalker. I am not a fan of this use of alts either – if someone is stalking you you need to tell Linden Labs (LL) about them, or directly confront the person, in public if need be, so they realise such behaviour is unacceptable. Running away, not the best solution.

The Worker: The worker is one of the uses of alts that I “approve” of – using an account purely for work purposes so you can relax on your other account when you need some downtime, and using the alt to help organize the different commitments and projects you have going on, seems fine. As long as the alt isn’t being used to escape the bad reputation they created with a previous buisness venture, which belongs under “The Escapist” above really.

The Role-player (RP): The alt is used for strictly character playing in Role-Playing worlds, and the person doesn’t want to otherwise be bothered when they are “out of character” by people in the RPing world. Or they want to RP in multiple sims and need to keep their identites separate for coherency. This seems fine to me too.

The Experimenter: The person who wants to genuinely know what it’s like to be a woman instead of a man (for whatever reason), or to be Gorean, or a furry, etc, and doesn’t otherwise feel openly comfortable about their main group of friends knowing about their experimentations. This has got to be OK, SL is all about experimentation, but it gets a bit tricky. I wouldn’t be impressed if a friend of mine used an alt to try to interact with me in such experimentations, it would be highly deceitful, instead they should ideally go live their experimentations with other people. The “issue” of men playing as women and vice versa is a rich area for discussion that I’ll be coming back to in another post.

I’m sure there are more reasons for using alts than I have covered here, but these are the primary uses, and alts are prevalent in SL so it’s important to try to figure out if you want one and why, and how you feel about friends potentially deceiving you by using an alt with you. I’m generally negative towards the use of alts yet I have 3, and my uses of those 3 fit into 2 of the above categories. I’ll get around to saying what I use them for and my experiences with them another day. So many things to write and so little time!!

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