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A lot of people are starting to understand the basics of using the Internet, in terms of accessing web pages and typing in URLs. Since you're looking at this document right now you probably have a level of technical savvy that many people lack. However, there is still a resource that people tend to overlook when compared to the glitz and readability of Web pages - the Newsgroups.
What Are Newsgroups?
Newsgroups are similar to message boards. You can post text, pictures, and sometimes files for downloading. People use them for a variety of tasks, from discussion about the latest Star Trek episode to debates on national politics. Messages are saved on a central server, which users can access. What we will look at specifically is how to find jobs on Newsgroups.
Okay where do we start?
First off you will need a newsgroup reader. Before you panic about getting one, don't worry - if you can read email you probably already have one. Outlook and Outlook Express can be used to view newsgroups. If you're using another type of email client (such as Netscape) you can also do this, though I won't be providing step by step instructions for this program.
First of all, you will need to find out the name of your news server. Outlook refers to this term as the News (NNTP) server.
Most of might already be thinking, "What the heck does this mean?" Don't worry; it's just a name for Outlook to identify your newsgroups server. This name will vary depending on who your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is, so the simplest way is to ask them. You can call them, or search through the documents they gave you when you signed on with them (though these might be outdated). I use Shaw myself, and I was able to find this information online at their tech support website at http://www.support.shaw.ca/
Once you're armed with this information, it's time to set up your newsgroup reader. First, open up Outlook.
Once opened, click on "Tools" in the top menu bar. Several options will come up; click on Accounts.
Another box will open up, like the one below.
Click on the "add" button. A sub-menu will pop up; choose "News" from it.
Next, enter your username (a nickname is fine; it's simply what will be displayed as the "author" for all your posts). After that you will have to enter an email address.
NOTE: I suggest you enter an email address that you do not mind getting spam (unsolicited email) at. Often companies take the email addresses off newsgroups and send out messages advertising products. I usually submit a hotmail account to avoid this problem. You can obtain a free hotmail email account at www.hotmail.com.
Fnally, enter the News (NTTP) server name.
Sometimes your ISP will require you to "log on" in order to use newsgroups. Mine does not, but if yours does, check the box and type in the username and password you were given or set up yourself.
That's it! You're done!
Great! What do I do now?
Well, you're connected to the newsgroup server but you haven't actually looked at any newsgroups yet. So, it's time to find some groups that interest you! First click on your newsgroup server name. Click on newsgroups, and type in a word or two that interests you. For this tutorial we'll use "job."
There are a lot of newsgroups that use this heading. Let's narrow the search and try to find jobs in Canada. In your list you might find a group called can.jobs. If you can't find it, type it in the search field. Select it, then click on the subscribe button.
"can.jobs" should appear under your newsgroup server name. Click on it, and you'll be able to read the messages there. As you can see, there are job postings available for your perusal.
What other groups are should I visit?
Newsgroups are constantly changing so we're a little leery of recommending specific ones. At the time of this writing however, these groups worked:
Use the search box to get more local sites.
A Word of Warning
Newsgroups can be a great place to find out about opportunities, but be very careful.
Newsgroups are policed very loosely. Pretty much anyone can post in them, so you have to careful of "get rich quick schemes" that are little more than con jobs. Unless you know what you're doing, stay away from postings about work at home opportunities and "jobs" in which you will be a franchisee. In these cases you are usually self employed and have little or no guarantee of receiving wages, and most of these opportunities involve you paying the company money..
Generally speaking, you should never have to pay an employer to get a job. Your talent as a worker is valuable if you have to pay, they're probably trying to rip you off. Also, if you are going to post messages I highly recommend you learn a little about netiquette first.
There is also a lot of adult material floating around in newsgroups. You should be okay if you stick to job groups, but, like the Internet, there is also content out there you wouldn't want to show to minors.
Forums and newsgroups are a very unique form of communication and they have developed their own form of lingo. Here are some quick tips for those who have never used a newsgroup. If you just want to browse job postings you won't really need this, but if you would like to post or engage in discussion in some other newsgroups or forums, here are some tips:
1. Lurk before posting.
Lurking is the process of reading posts but not actively posting. By lurking you can see what is and isn't acceptable. For instance, some groups don't mind swearing, others can't stand it. Reading a lot of posts will also let you see if a question you have has already been answered or not. Lurking before posting will probably keep you out of trouble the most.
2. Never type all in caps
TYPING LIKE THIS IS VERY ANNOYING. It's called "shouting" and everyone hates it. Don't do it. tHiS iS aLso AnNoyING.
3. Remember that it's a person you're communicating with.
It's very easy to forget that these are people in the newsgroups, since you can't see them face-to-face. Try to treat everyone with respect. In general, it's also a good idea to keep yourself as anonymous as possible.
For more tips on netiquette check out these sources:
The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette: This comprehensive guide has tips for a whole range of topics, including email, www, telnet, etc.
The Core Rules of Netiquette: The Core Rules of Netiquette are excerpted from the book, "Netiquette," by Virginia Shea.
Business Netiquette International: As the title suggests, this site specilizes in the netiquette of international business.
I hope this article helped you. I'll be compiling a list of newsgroups with jobs in Canada shortly and posting it in our resources section. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments on this article.