Looking back on ways the internet consumed our life in 2019

Your Spotify year-end playlist is just the beginning.

Spotify's chart shows you when you listen to music.
Spotify can show you when you most commonly listen to music.Spotify

Social media was particularly musical this week. Streaming music behemoth Spotify unleashed its annual Wrapped recaps, which tell users about their most frequently played tracks and artists. Spotify really stepped up its presentation this year, baking those stats into pre-made stories ready to share on Instagram, Facebook, or wherever else people feel the need to post and defend their penchant for Taylor Swift’s new album.

It’s fun to look back at your previous obsessions at the end of the year. In fact, in the coming weeks, you can expect other sites like YouTube and other streaming video sites to start bombarding you with data about the content you consumed since the ball dropped last year. But, in most cases you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to get that information.

Spotify actually offers an always-accessible, in-depth look at your listening habits, including some of the ways in which the company categorizes your specific personality.

The tool works through the Spotify for Brands platform, a name that should make you say “ugh” out loud after reading it. In order to use it, you’ll have to share your Spotify behaviors with the site. The platform is designed to help the company build marketing strategies, but it’s also a handy way to see your stats in case you get curious at any time.

You can even generate a Spotify.me playlist that auto-populates with songs the service thinks you want to hear based on your recent listening habits.

But, Spotify isn’t the only service with tools designed to let you see your viewing or listening habits.

If you use Apple Music, you can visit beta.music.apple.com/replay to get a curated collection of your most-played tunes like Spotify’s. It will also give you a mix of your most popular songs.

YouTube rolled out a feature last year that allows users to keep track of how much they’re watching. It was deep in the heart of 2018’s “digital wellness” initiatives, in which companies vowed to help save you from the smartphones they sold you in the first place.

In the YouTube app, under the Account Menu, you’ll find a tab labeled “Time Watched.” That will give you a look back at the last seven days (hopefully that time frame expands down the road) to see how much you’re watching daily.

By default, YouTube keeps track of everything you watch on the service and you can see a running list of videos by going to Youtube.com/feed/history. From there, you can also delete your history and set a time limit after which the app will purge your data. It’s interesting to scroll through the list and watch the past version of yourself fall down video rabbit holes. Why did I watch seven videos of people getting chiropractic adjustments? Only April 2019 me truly knows.

If you want to see a similar list of stuff you’ve watched from Netflix, you can go to Netflix.com/viewingactivity. Again, it’s just a big, running list of the stuff you’ve watched, which means mine is 60 percent dominated by my habit of falling asleep to The Office.

Hulu offers a similar look into your viewing history. Here are the directions from the Hulu site: “just scroll past Hulu Picks to find it. Browse through the collection to see which shows and movies you’ve recently watched. If you select All Watch History you’ll be able to see all of the shows and movies you’ve watched on Hulu.”

As more companies roll out fancy year-end usage recaps, we’ll add them to this post so you can bask in all the time you spent with content in 2019.

Before you head back into Spotify to start making more stats, however, take a listen to the latest episode of the Techathlon podcast.

On this week’s special Cyber Monday edition of the show, we play a game that pays tribute to some of our favorite 1-star product reviews from around the internet. Play along and then tweet your score at us.