79922819_stXsrMHY_DSC_1631William Bao Bean
by Fons1 via Flickr
Social networking can also be a language tool, says William Bao Bean, director of italki.com from Shanghai and speaker at the China Speakers Bureau, in a recent article in the South China Morning Post.

“It’s a twist to the original Web 2.0 concept… Instead of just making friends online, why not find a language partner who can teach you English or Spanish, while you teach him or her Chinese?”

The service had at the summer already a quarter of a million users, 20 percent from China and the rest from all over the world. While not replacing the professional language teaching methods, the service wants to add functionally to the “just’ friend-making ability of social network.
The free service is going to be advertisement-based:

“Just like Facebook, we intend to sell advertisements [to raise revenue],”said Mr Bean. “There are many language-learning schools and other advertisers who will find our user base attractive.”

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