Avatars in Wonderland

Me, My Alts, And I! (Or: Why I Alt)


Lanna and some of her alts

Last week on Plurk, Daila Holder posted “Blog Post Topics I’d Like to Read.”   Some of them were really pretty funny, Confessions of a Male Fashion Blogger’s Girlfriend and I Saw You Naked and Now I Only Want to IM.  On the whole, it seemed that the list would make for very interesting blog posts (I’d post a link to the plurk, but her timeline is set to private.)  But there was one that got me thinking, Why I Alt.   So I thought, it is an interesting topic, why not give it a go?

Alting is one of those interesting Second Life anomalies; most people do it, but few admit to it.  If I had to guess, I would say that easily 85% of regular SL users that have been in-world for more than six months have at least one alt.   Maybe people don’t talk about it because Linden Lab wants you to pay for additional avatars.  Maybe they are quiet about it because people often use alts to do things they wouldn’t want to admit to publicly.  Or maybe people don’t talk about it because they use it as a clean slate.  Whatever the reason, people seldom discuss their alts.

But what about you, Lanna?  Are you going to talk about why you alt?  Yes!  And if you’re that curious about it, look after the jump to find out!

Other than Charlanna, I’ve got three alts.  Yep, three.  I wanted to get a picture of the four of us, but my computer gagged at that idea.  And before you think I’m an altaholic, it might help to know that these were all made over the span of two-and-a-half years and each had their one specific reason for being.  One was created to be my worker alt, for those times when I had an SL job and I needed to be in SL but didn’t want to be interrupted.  One was created to see what being a guy was like in SL.  Finally, one was created as a favor to a friend (and before you go there, it wasn’t for the sort of favor that you’re imagining!)  Within each of those reasons for creation starts to get to some of the reasons why I alt.

Most of all, I like the quiet of being an alt.  For me, it is more about me controlling the flow of communication; I enjoy my friends in SL, but sometimes I prefer to not be disturbed.  I can pop on and flit around without the familiar ding of IMs.  Mostly I shop and explore, but at the risk of bordering on TMI, one of my alts likes visiting Zindra (Let’s just leave it at that, k? I’ll leave it to your imagination to fill in the gaps).  Finally, the guy alt gets out the least; it just wasn’t something that I found terribly enjoyable.

When I’m alting, I don’t run around screaming “I’m an alt! I’m an alt!”  But I don’t hide the fact, either.  If I start talking to someone that seems really interesting, I disclose that I’m alting and most of the time end up telling them Charlanna’s name.  And on the very rare occasion that I’ve bumped into someone I actually know while I’m alting, I tell them who I am.  Now I can hear you thinking, “Don’t those things defeat part of why you say you alt?”  Given the fact that my alts almost never friend anyone – like once in a blue moon – I still can control the communication and enjoy the quiet.

Alting has been fun at times, but I have to admit that I still greatly prefer being Charlanna.  She still gets 90% of the use, plus I like having my inventory at my fingertips.  So don’t worry friends, I’m not skulking around on you in my alt.  Besides, if I am, chances are good that I’ll say hi.

And you know I wouldn’t post something like this without asking a question or two.  Why do you have an alt?  What do you do with it?