Don't look now, but the avatar next to you might be an ALT!
Discussions about alts in the LGH group as well as other groups have been a bit demonizing of late. One person even questioned me after I stated in 'My 2 Year Journey to 2' blog that my original avatar was 11 years old while I am only 9! Alts used for cheating and griefing are definitely unwanted and should be reported. But alts are allowed on Second Life and have useful legal purposes. Some newer players may be limiting their SL experience by not knowing alts are allowed and not understanding how they can be properly used. Here are some reasons to have alts.
Group Control Having a group for land ownership or product advertising is essential for doing business in SL. A group requires 2 people minimum. I recommend that a group have no less than 2 owners and you should be both of them! I know 3 people who lost their groups to a very common mistake. They accidentally left their group and since they were the only owner, they had no way to invite themselves back! When you create a group, use an alt as a second owner to avoid that issue.
Product Development Making stuff in SL is fun. And most of that stuff will either be worn or used by other people. When you make clothing or other worn accessories, you need testers. If you decide to make furniture with poses, you need people to sit on those poses while you adjust the positioning. And sometimes that takes hours of work. Alts never have to be paid and they don't complain about overtime!
Product Sales Testing Object permissions are complex. Being the owner of an object hides that complexity because it will always work for you. When you give or sell it to someone else, those permissions change. You can lose a lot of business when people buy your products and can't use them. Use an alt to make sure they still work after the sale.
Linden Banker Stories of people having their linden taken without their knowledge or permission float around SL all the time. Most are just scare rumors sent to group chats by griefers. But if it worries you, use a banker alt. Just pay them the linden you want saved and only keep what you need for the moment. It is also a great way of tracking profits. You don't even need to log the alt on to pay them. Just log them on when you need some of the linden they are saving for you.
Role Playing Most people discover role playing after being on SL for a bit. And it is a wonderful way to explore one's fantasies. While it is easy to create a display name, you always carry your user name with you. It is hard to role play a samurai warrior when your avatar name is StudMuffin69! Create an alt with a name to match the role play and you will be much happier!
Privacy Making new friends and joining groups is a large part of the social media aspect of SL. But there are times when you just want to be alone in SL. Using an alt that no one knows about will give you that privacy. And that time alone is just as important in Second Life as it is in real life.
There are many other useful reasons to have alts. Hopefully I have given you perspective on why you might want to use one. Just remember its YOUR Second Life so make the most of it!
Now go HUG AN ALT!