Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

5.5. What is a local newsgroup?

Thousands of newsgroups are local where discussions are in and about specific geographic areas. These newsgroups are a great way to communicate with folks in your city, state, college, or country, but they're usually wholly uninteresting to everyone outside that area. There is at least one local newsgroup for every state and province in the U.S. and Canada plus thousands more for people in every county that's plugged into the Internet. Local groups allow New Yorkers to discuss the best restaurants in New York City, for example, but not waste disk space on a machine in Sao Paulo or Hong Kong.

The names of local newsgroups look just like global Usenet groups, except the first part is an initial for the location name. For example, atl groups are for Atlanta, Georgia, and ab groups are for Alberta, Canada. Here are some examples:

Other local newsgroups have different prefixes. For example:

To find local newsgroups in your area, try using your newsreader to search for groups with your location's initials or name. (Use the initials of your state, province, or country.) Of course. you can also ask someone in the know (such as your system administrator) what your local newsgroups are called.

Dave Taylor says, "There are also organizational domains within companies on the Internet and network access firms like Netcom, Software Tool and Die, and the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link. These can be recognized by the similarity between the domain name and the organizational name. Some examples: hp. are groups within Hewlett-Packard, apple. for Apple Computer, purdue. for Purdue University, ucb. for the University of California at Berkeley, netcom. for Netcom local newsgroups, world. for The World, and well. for the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link. You probably won't be able to access most of these--particularly the corporate ones that often are a hotbed for discussion of company internal information and projects.

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