Have your ever opened your friend’s laptop and clicked on their YouTube bookmark? What pops up might surprise you. The first page’s trailers, songs, and content will probably be nothing like your own account’s home page. This is because they’re using the internet in a different way than you are.
How is this even possible? The internet is the internet, right? Well, not exactly. The content that you’re presented with will adjust to your preferences.
Remember that while everyone has their favorite way of passing time online, no one is that one-dimensional. The majority of people have more than one preference. Still, if we were to characterize users by their preferred type, it would go something like this…
- Social media users
Some people love spending their time on social media. Their favorite pastime is prying into the lives of others and updating the social media community on everything that happens to them throughout the day. In their mind, no shower thought is worth having if you don’t immediately share it online.
Now, while most people use smartphones for their social media, and on some platforms (even older ones like Facebook and Instagram), the browser version is inferior, there are some charms to doing it the old-school way. For social media enthusiasts who want to check their accounts from any device, a good password manager will mean you don’t have too complex of a login process. Just look up some of the top picks for Firefox users (or whichever browser you use) and enjoy.
- Gaming enthusiasts
For some, gaming is a way of escapism, while others use it to get the adrenaline pumping. Modern photo-realistic graphics ensure that even people without that much imagination can get fully immersed in video games. This is why, on average, the gaming population is getting older and older (the average age of a gamer is now 35 years).
For a child, a grey pixel is a castle, a green pixel is a dragon, and a yellow pixel is a fire bolt leaving the hand of a sorcerer on the other end of the map. An adult needs a movie-like experience to get into it.
Just remember that there’s a huge difference between mobile gamers, offline gamers, players enjoying browser-based games, etc.
- Podcast consumers
Some people consume insane amounts of podcasts, in fact, there are around 465 million podcast listeners worldwide. This is not surprising since, even in the past, many people couldn’t do a thing without a TV/radio working in the background. Now, it’s just a slightly different medium running.
Now, to be fair, these podcasts are incredibly entertaining, and they are a way for you to learn many things on many topics. They give you a chance to hear the words of wisdom of people that you would never otherwise have the privilege of meeting in the real world.
The best part is that you can never really run out of content. By the time you finish, there’ll already be a lot of new material.
- News addicts
Some people are just addicted to news and news sites. Thankfully, due to access to VPN and many amazing translation services, it’s near impossible to censor anything for people willing to pry deep enough.
The biggest problem is that too many sources are online, which has led to the hyperinflation of information. This means it’s hard to tell real information from fake news and even harder to form an opinion.
According to some, we already live in a post-truth world. This is a world where everyone’s already living in their epistemic bubble (or echo chamber) of choosing, where they’re fed exclusively with the information that reinforces their opinions.
- The DIY crowd
Almost everyone knows that the majority of 5-minute crafts are laughably bad. It’s a way to make an impractical version of a concept already in a cheaper, simpler variant. However, there are a lot of great tips and tricks out there that could help you develop new skills.
The concept of microlearning is one of the best ways you can use the internet. Just think about the number of people who learned to make sourdough or knit during the pandemic. There’s so much knowledge out there, and most skills don’t require paying for a course.
- Health freaks
There are so many online resources to help you lead a healthier life. Even without any app, with a browser alone, you can find out how many calories and nutrients you consume.
You can also find unlimited training programs (some completely useless, but some decent). There are thousands and hundreds of thousands of fitness content creators out there, and while some hide the most practical information behind paywalls, others are pretty straightforward with their knowledge.
- Online shoppers
Buying products online is more convenient but could save you a fortune. How so? Well, you can easily filter products and shop around. To check the cost in two stores the old-fashioned way, you must call them or walk/drive over there and check the price tag. Now, you can just switch between tabs and check in a matter of seconds.
These sites also remember your preferences and have options like a wishlist. This means you can just find the item you like and wait for it to go on sale. At this point, you get a notification and a privilege to buy at a price that suits you.
- Streaming junkies
The bond between the streamer and a content creator and their audiences is vastly different. A streamer has a more direct connection. The psychological bond between a streamer and their viewer is more familiar. In a way, a viewer will see the streamer in question as someone from their circle of friends.
Now, in the past, Twitch had, more or less, a monopoly in the streaming world, but 2023 is really exciting when it comes to this. First of all, Kick is huge. The same goes with Rumble, which is much less careful with ad-friendly content. YouTube is getting increasingly into the game, and even Twitter has a lot of streamers who can get a sizable live audience.
- Crypto investors
Since the first crypto millionaires, many people have made crypto their bread and butter. The truth is that no one knows which token will be “the next bitcoin;” however, this doesn’t stop millions of people trying to find it.
Now, to be completely fair, crypto investing is not a bad idea. After all, if you find the right exchange, aren’t too lazy to do your homework, and understand risk management strategies, this could work. Remember that if you’re just looking for a way to make quick money without effort, this is not it. Cryptocurrencies are just a new asset type, meaning investing in crypto is not that much unlike investing in stocks.
- Experience transfer
Some people are just there for the experience transfer. Traveling is a passion for many people, but this is an expensive passion. It takes time and resources that a lot of people don’t have. They can turn on a wilderness survival video before they sleep or watch a beach ASMR video early in the morning.
Travel enthusiasts are not the only ones in this group. Foodies are another massive subcategory of this type of internet user. Just think about it – what is the benefit of watching a mukbang video? Still, there are so many people around the world who are completely mesmerized by this type of content.
Your preferences often define your experience
The thing with the internet is that your preferences define you. We can guarantee that you would be shocked to see the feed of other people’s YouTube and social media channels only to see that the content there doesn’t look like what you have popping up.
At the end of the day, the algorithm adjusts to you and not the other way around. Only the nature of how it’s presented to you creates an illusion of it “feeding” you with a specific type of content. In reality, it adjusts to your preferences.