Friday, August 21, 2015

Second Life Alts - Who are you?

Most of us log on to Second Life to escape our real lives for awhile.  But some of us have created a third life or forth, fifth or sixth life.  Called "alt's".   When I created my first account or main account in 2006, I was drawn to building, creating, landscaping and eventually owning and renting land.  The more successful my business became the busier "Troy" was.  No longer could Troy enjoy a concert or an evening out with friends without getting messages from customers or questions about a rental.
Being a typical A type,  I couldn't ignore the requests and I take pride in my customer service so I would leave the event to take care of business.  That's when I decided that I needed a third life to escape my 1st and 2nd lives.  I created Alexx and told all my close friends that Troy was now strictly for business and Alexx is for fun.  I log into Troy's account first and take care of all business.  When I'm done, I log into Alexx to explore, go to my favorite clubs and hang out with friends. 
I do not and never have used my alt to deceive anyone but many people create alts to harass because they are cowards. In my 9 years in Second Life, I have seen many people deceptively use alts in one way or another. 
The members of ISL in-world did a survey and asked residents if they had an alt, why and how they feel about it.  47% said they did or have had an alt.  Some of those were people who just wanted to start over with a new account for one reason or another.  Few readily admitted they created an alt to harass someone but we have all witnessed it sometime in our SL's.
That brings us to spy tools that detect alts.  I personally have nothing to hide.  My profile clearly states that I have a work alt.  But I do not agree with an invasion of residents privacy at any length. 
Our survey respondents gave some very valid reasons for having alt's from breaking up with a long time partner and wanting to start over to being stalked or harassed and creating alt or new account.  Several had a different alt for different activities.  One particular story described having an alt that was Gorean only, another alt that is Fae, another alt for combat sims, a stripper/escort alt and a "regular" alt for everyday stuff.  Her reasoning was mainly inventory.  Each alt has clothing and items just for that RP character so she doesn't have to look through a large inventory and change skins and shapes.
So although many use alts to harass, they are many who don't.  Alt detection tools such as Red Zone, don't tell you the story behind the alt and some are to quick to judge.  It is an invasion of privacy.  Those who have family members that share a computer and in some cases even neighbors who share internet in an apartment building or duplex become targets of paranoid spies.
In some cases, an alt detection tool can be an important component to stop griefers but should be used only when needed and not for everyday spying on residents.
So maybe if you want to try something new in SL and don't want your accomplished and well known avatar being seen in a place like that * winks, you can just create an alt and participate in your darkest secret desires.