Recently, I was asked what my typical browsing habits were. I’ve been labeled the “wired guy” on multiple occasions, but realized I’ve never given a genuine account of what my average, digital day is like. I’m also curious how it compares to others, as many of our lives online have evolved in silent contrast of each other. In short; I read lots of Reddit, pirate just about everything, and stay away from Facebook.
Reddit is my primary source for information, insight, and support. Reddit a social news website where anyone can share and vote on content. It is also divided into user-moderated ”subreddits” for any imaginable interest. I have two accounts, each of which filters a specific range of content.
My main account focuses on a set of four “meta-subreddits” which attempt to compile the best content on Reddit. Reddit is large enough now where the front page is mostly images, memes, and shiny things. These subreddits attempt to filter out the noise or disposable content in their own way and share only the most interesting or quality information. You can see what my front page (and the list of what subreddits I subscribe to) here.
I have an alternate account that is all inclusive and more forgiving. I can switch back and forth with a single click whenever I wish using the Reddit Enhancement Suite. RES also lets me auto-expand images in my feed and see most content in either list without ever having to leave the page. You can see what this account looks like as well.
Reddit houses the best general and technical advice I’ve found. Many people have already asked questions or started detailed discussions on all kinds of topics and systems. I search it first when looking for recommendations, troubleshooting, or answers to uncommon questions.
It’s easy to visit a large subreddit (e.g. Videos) and sort by “top” and “this month”. It instantly serves the most relevant videos on the internet in the past month Reddit users are aware of. This particular subreddit has 2.6 million subscribers, any of which can post, making it difficult to miss anything major. I apply this basic method of listing to all my favorite subreddits, and it makes it incredibly easy to say up to date on the most significant stories or content for virtually any topic within a flexible range of time.
It is worth noting the significant absence of other news sites from my life. I don’t visit CNN, In-Forum (local news), BoingBoing, StumbleUpon, or anything related directly. I am entirely bias in approach. Reddit is primarily a filter of information, although is does provide a variety of it’s own unique content and discussions. I still end up at other major news and information outlets, just never through my own initiation.
I visit The Pirate Bay daily. Previously, I used a search engine to index many sites, but I’ve consistently found what I need at TPB and haven’t looked back. I go through a rather appalling amount of content. I still buy whatever games I play, but I prefer to test them first. I watch a few TV shows, but mostly movies. uTorrent’s streaming option also makes most videos watchable near-instantly. It feels like a naked, illegitimate Netflix at times.
I still maintain a backup of all my music from the mp3 era, but I now stream around 95% of my music through Soundcloud . The large amount of popular, growing, and eclectic artists in the Soundcloud community has allowed me to craft my own feed for listing all the newest songs and favorites from each of them. Resharing songs and creating “sets” of any combination of songs on the site leaves never-ending combinations of new content. Browsing the favorites of my favorite artists is extraordinary, and continually links me to new music I’m excited to find. I can’t see exactly what Daft Punk has on their iPods, but it’s close enough for other artists who are active on the site.
I visit Facebook about once every few days. I keep all Facebook notifications inclusive to the site itself, meaning I don’t receive emails or alerts on my phone if I’m messaged, tagged, ect. I visit the site when I chose to find out what’s happening, and I don’t chat since I don’t hangout long when I do.
Google Plus is integrated into Gmail in a way that I don’t actually have to go into it directly in order to comment or interact with my friends who actually use it. Since I spend most of day with my Gmail open, it feels almost transparent, and I end up using more often than I expect.
I visit Wallbase about twice a week. I view their global toplist regularly and I pull images for editing or inspiration. They have the best directory of visual content I’ve found anywhere. I browse it randomly at times to simply relax and see how many tabs I end up with. I keep a few hundred wallpapers in a continually growing, random slide for my desktop.
I also enjoy their NSFW content. Although, it is the only site where I actively view adult content. I do subscribe to the sex subreddit, but it is more informative than titillating.
Penny Arcade is the only webcomic I read consistently, three times a week. I still read whatever I come across on the comics subreddit, which grabs from most of my favorite series. Both the Penny Arcade artists are fantastic and poignant in the gaming world. I watch random episodes of their show from time to time as well, but only as inspiration or insight into their creative process.
I abhor advertisements. I use Adblock on all of my PCs and devices. I find it jarring to browse without it, and recommend it to everyone. Adblock is just one browser extension I use, but there are many others. Whether or not people realize it, our browsers have had the ability to customize any pages we visit in extraordinary ways. Greasemonkey supports a variety of scripts for Chrome and Firefox, and is the largest augmented browsing community I’m aware of.
That covers pretty much everything. I still wonder what I’m missing. If you’re interested in hearing how other people use the Internet, I’d recommend checking out Lifehacker’s “How I Work” series. They share some great tools and ideas if you’re looking a broader approach, with more impressive minds.