User – Concept, types and examples

We explain what a user is, what are the types of users that can be found and what role each one plays on the Internet.

Users of Web 2.0 play a very active role in content production.

What is a user?

In computing and web culture, a user is understood to be a set of permissions and resources assigned to an operator as part of a computer network, and that could well be a person, a computer program or a computer.

This concept of user differs from the traditional one contemplated in dictionaries, since for the latter a user is “someone who uses something”, while users in Web 2.0 play a very active role in content production and other activities that demand a high level of participation.

Thus, when it is desired to refer specifically to human individuals behind a computer or a system, it is better to refer to them as subjects or citizens.

In many cases we speak of users to refer to user accounts, that is, to the personalized and / or individual configurations that have access to the functions of a computer system. It should be noted, however, that the same human user can manage several user accounts, or none (in case of not being registered in the system).

In this sense, we can talk about the following types of computer user:

  • Registered users. These are those users with a user account and who regularly live on the network, either as consumers or producers of information, or both figures intermittently.
  • Anonymous users. Those who browse the Internet without making their presence manifest through registrations, formalizations or accounts assigned to a user, but remain unidentified. You usually have fewer privileges than the registered user.
  • Trolls This category includes users of forums and social networks whose presence in these social areas is problematic or abusive: they incite hatred, verbally attack others and make the experience less pleasant.
  • Beta-testers. These are test users, that is, they use software experimentally or in development, in order to take note of its weaknesses or evaluate its operation, etc.
  • Hackers. Those users with deep computer knowledge and who are capable of sabotaging or altering code segments of Web programs to benefit from it in different ways.

Other classifications of possible users start from the level of expertise in managing the network or any computer system, and which is generally reduced to: beginners (or newbies), intermediate and expert (or pros).

However, any classification of users will always be partial and, at best, temporary.