…when trying to keep their identity secret.
People have alts for a number of reasons, and a lot of the time those reasons include a bit of anonymity. Perhaps it’s to hide out when you don’t feel like being bombarded with IMs, perhaps it’s to experience SL as a different gender and/or species, perhaps it’s just because you’re ready for a change. Whatever the reason, people who have alts tend to get into certain pitfalls which cause people to spot them right away. Here are some of those pitfalls, and how to avoid them.
10. Filling out their profile on Day One. Most newcomers to SL don’t even realize they have a profile, let alone have a fully fleshed-out one complete with photo and detailed picks (like RP limits), their first few days in SL.
9. Belonging to all the same groups as their main. Especially when a group is a highly specialized one, such as an individual performer’s group or a small shop or a small RP group.
8. Frequenting the same places as their main. Sometimes we tend to become “homebodies” and get so familiar with our usual haunts that it’s hard to break the habit when we log on as someone completely different. People will notice that. As one individual once put it, “Next time you want to get away, maybe actually get *away*.”
7. Appearing too SL savvy too early. It’s true, there are people who pick up on things fast. But they tend to be a rare exception. On the other hand, don’t lay it on too thick either.
6. Inconsistencies. Whether it’s your backstory or your typing idiosyncracies, an easy-to-spot alt doesn’t keep consistent, and leaves people thinking, “I thought she said…”. Keep your story straight, whatever it may be.
5. Talking exactly the same as their main. We have our patterns of speech and our ways of saying things that those who get to know us well can spot a mile away. Whether it’s regional variations (for example, I’m a New Englander through and through and use “wicked” and “friggin” way too much) or a saying or catch phrase that gets over-repeated (“heh”, in my case), these things get noticed. That also goes for punctuation styles (if your main puts 3 exclamation points at the end of every sentence, then your alt probably shouldn’t as well) and emoticons (you’d be surprised how distinct people’s can be…).
4. (This one’s especially for those who switch gender) Not behaving in a manner consistent with your chosen gender. This is especially obvious in men pretending to be women. If you make yet another 7 foot tall blonde with huge tits, skimpy clothing, and a libido that could demolish the Eastern Seaboard, then you’ve got “netvestite” written all over you. You may have stared at a lot of women but you’ve never actually observed them. Really listen to what women talk about with each other; yes, sometimes it’s sex, but more often it’s how they relate to the people they’re having sex with. Sometimes it’s shopping, but it’s other things as well. Like men, we are multi-dimensional creatures with a wide variety of interests and concerns. A truly savvy “netvestite” will acknowlege all these things.
3. Claiming to know intimate details about their main but never appearing to be on SL at the same time or in the same place as their main. Alts will often say they’re a RL friend or family member of their main, and yet they never appear in the same place at the same time.
2. Over-compensating, or “The Lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Sometimes, in an attempt to make the trail between alt and main a little colder, the alt will overdo it. The alt might do everything completely the opposite of their main, even down to their core beliefs or likes and dislikes. They might appear to be “Bizarro-main”, having an opposite physical appearance and/or gender. They may even spend too much time talking about how very unlike their main they really are.
1. Logging on immediately before/after their main logs off, on a regular basis. The oldest, and possibly most common, mistake in the book. Even without the aid of a contact list, people in the sim will often have radars and will easily see when one person disappears and suddenly another person re-appears, especially when that second person has done so every day for the past week now. It’s not that difficult to log on more than one viewer at the same time; there’s information out there as to how to do it both on a PC and on a Mac.
The easiest way to assure that your secret alt stays secret is to remove the alt from anything related to the main. The sims, the groups, the circle of friends, all of it.