A User-Oriented Network
Have you ever logged on to Usenet before?
Usenet is not a website, nor is it an app for your phone, but it’s actually a separate network, packed with servers where users share information, ideas, and communicate with other people from around the world. It sounds very similar to most of today’s social media platforms, but it’s a very different beast at its core. In fact, you’re able to access much more information on Usenet than you’d be able to on any other social media site and the world wide web in general.
The History of Usenet
Usenet actually has a fascinating history, as it’s considered to be the oldest form of the internet, existing long before the world wide web as we know it today. Usenet was created back in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, two graduate students from Duke University in North Carolina. They wanted to develop a way to send information to their friend at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, using their computers. At the time, computers were mainly used on college campuses and libraries, so not many people had access to computers, nor did anyone even think that sending information between computers was possible. Still, they could make this happen using telephone modems, and thus, Usenet was created!
Throughout the 1980s, Usenet was used on college campuses throughout the United States, where students would exchange academic information. Similar to today’s group discussion forums, Usenet uses newsgroups, divided into different categories labelled with titles like comp (computer information), news (information about Usenet), sci (science), soc (social issues), etc. By the 1990s, Usenet became less of an academic platform and more of a social one. This was likely because computers became more accessible with the rise of the internet, and internet service providers used to offer Usenet for free as a part of their services.
Today, Usenet contains more than 100,000 newsgroups on various topics. Binary files (photos, videos, and audio files) are also available in addition to text files. All of this user-generated content is available to you right at your fingertips with just a simple search in Usenet’s own version of a search engine called a newsreader. You can also create and share your own original content on this platform.
Who can benefit from Usenet?
Anyone can benefit from what Usenet has to offer. If you’re a content creator, you’ll enjoy the fact that Usenet is not heavily censored like many other social platforms: instead, the Usenet is entirely community created and maintained, meaning that your newsgroup will become what you want it to. You have more freedom and control over what content you want to create and share with others. Even if you’re not a content creator and just want to exchange ideas and learn new information, you’ll also benefit from using Usenet. Another benefit is that any content you choose to download is secured with SSL encryption, so additional security measures like virtual private networks (VPNs) aren’t necessary, although security best practices will still serve you well.
How to Get Usenet Now
As mentioned before, Usenet is a service and not a website. This means that to get your service started, you must select a Usenet service provider. The best service providers will include SSL encryption to ensure that all of your downloads are secure, provide a newsreader for free (some subscriptions don’t include this, and you’ll have to purchase it separately), and will also offer you a free trial so you can see if this is a platform that you’ll truly enjoy before you start your monthly subscription service. This will also give you an idea of how much download space you’ll need for your computer, as not many providers offer unlimited downloads.
Usenet can be a breath of fresh air for those who are tired of traditional social media platforms. Consider trying it if you wish to be connected with like-minded people who share the same thirst for information.