Posts Tagged ‘escape’

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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As much as I love Crown & Pearl (which is my home base, the place I work, and the place I play with my friends), every so often I need a break from it. The reasons for needing the break change – sometimes someone is really pissing me off (which is the reason I currently need the break), sometimes I just need to quietly sort my inventory without feeling like I am rude ignoring everyone around me, whatever the reason I now and then go for a wander.

Usually going for a wander around SL is not a significant event, but for me it is. People expect me to be at Crown, and that’s fine with me. The thing is if I go somewhere other than Crown and people find out I’m not there I frequently get IMs asking with a great sense of awe where I could have possibly gone instead! The IMs in themself don’t bother me, it’s nice that people think of me and talk to me, it’s just that it emphasises the extensive amount of time I spend there when I am actually logged in.

Usually if I have left Crown of my own accord it is to go take pictures of a scenic sim or listen to a friend DJ, in those situations I’m acting with purpose – I’m not “leaving” Crown so much as actively going to another place and intending to come back soon. The problem is when I want to escape for a bit and have no particular purpose in mind, or just need a quiet place to sort things out.

My experiences in SL have taught me that any sim I go to, people will contact me and think me rude if I don’t respond, sometimes I get asked to leave if I accidentally end up on a private sim, other times I’m in the way of someone’s picture and need to move. If I try to hang out somewhere else just for a break in and of itself, and not because I need “quiet time”, then I am reminded of why I stay at Crown in the first place – the people there are not just out for sex and are on the most part stimulating and friendly, which is more than I can say for any other bar I have ever been to in SL, besides 3 Lions which is long gone.

So what do I do then, when I need a break, and still need or want to be in SL, but nowhere else feels right or those other places turn out to be worse..? I sit out of chat range at Crown, either in the sky or on the fringes, until I’ve finished my set task or the person bugging me has left my mystitool radar. It’s the closest thing to a home that I have in-world, I have build rights and most land rights there so I feel safe and have all the requisite freedoms I need to get anything done that needs getting done.

So often though I think how much nicer my SL would be if I just had those two other places: Somewhere private to chill-out, and a second bar to hang at, instead of having all my virtual eggs in the one basket (however wonderful that basket is 90% of the time). But I learnt a long time ago, that it’s called second life, not perfect life. You count your blessings in both worlds and just be grateful for what you do have, right..?

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