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The Original Social Network: What Is Usenet and Why Should You Be on It?

The Original Social Network: What Is Usenet and Why Should You Be on It?

The Original Social Network

With new and exciting tech emerging all the time, it can be easy for long-standing resources and features to get overshadowed. However, these older programs haven’t disappeared—they have been progressing and improving quietly alongside flashier new developments.

One such platform is Usenet, a discussion-based user network that is pulling forward into the contemporary tech scene like a dark horse after facing years of obscurity. Developed by a pair of college students in 1979, Usenet was the first form of computer-based networking and it even set the groundwork for the development of the internet as we know it today.

Because Usenet isn’t widely used, many people—even the tech-savvy—don’t know how to access it or what its benefits are. Keep reading for an overview of Usenet’s format and key features.

How do you use Usenet?

Usenet is essentially a collection of discussion boards where users can follow threads pertaining to their favorite topics and connect with other people. Due to a small but dedicated userbase and clear topic organization, Usenet holds a mass of specified knowledge that could be an indispensable resource to far more users than it currently attracts.

However, Usenet can’t be accessed via the internet like the other social platforms we are familiar with. Usenet is its own independent network that is not part of the World Wide Web, making it a bit tricky to stumble upon on your own and potentially intimidating for prospective users. Luckily, there are resources to help you get acclimated to its format.

To access Usenet content, you need a service provider. Not only will this enable you to start using Usenet, but it will also provide you with the necessary tools that make Usenet navigable. For instance, a Newshosting account will come along with a Usenet browser suited for multiple operating systems so you can identify and keep track of your desired content.

What are some of Usenet’s features?

For those unfamiliar with Usenet, there are two aspects that make it especially unique: newsgroup discussions and secure downloads.


After getting access to the network, you can start interacting with its content. The discussion boards that Usenet is composed of are called newsgroups, while the browser that you read them in is called a newsreader. A newsreader allows you to download content from a particular newsgroup and search for specific topics, making Usenet’s interface more legible for its users.

Newsgroups function like forums, allowing users to find and engage with other people who share the same interests. There are thousands of newsgroups that are broken down into primary and sub-categories that host generalized and specific discussions among users. This hierarchy of information is organized by naming conventions that are really easy to understand.

Not unlike Reddit forums and smaller discussion sites on the regular web, newsgroups allow users to convene and discuss their interests in a specified place. For the time being, Usenet’s small user base may also lead to better discussions of niche topics.

Secure Downloads

Engagement with content on any platform necessitates security. Usenet providers ensure that client data is secure with SSL connections. Using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connections, user data is encrypted to prevent interception and information theft.

Further, despite being able to interact with a wealth of user-generated content, Usenet users don’t directly share any data with one another. This ensures that any downloads users make are secure.

Ultimately, Usenet is a really unique and fascinating resource for anyone looking for a new-to-them social media platform that features specific, organized discussions, secure interactions with content, and a special history. While its unfamiliar format may take a bit of adjustment, choosing the right service provider and navigation tools can make your transition more seamless and help you get acclimated to a different style of digital communication. Take advantage of this outlet as a way to get in on fresh discussions with a new user base and diversify your networking reach!

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