‘Virtual Home’ for Ex-Pats in London Established
A social network aimed at providing information for ex-pats living in London has been established. New Media Knowledge met the site’s co-founder to find out more.
LondonAmigo.com is a social network aimed at providing practical advice for ‘new nomads’, a term the site’s founders have coined for people who move frequently, often between countries. LondonAmigo.com is the first of the ‘CityAmigo’ network sites formed by Gerald Speers and Yuri Bacas-Hosaka, themselves no strangers to moving cities regularly.
The site contains professionally-written content on subjects such as obtaining a bank account or identification documents and enables ex-pats to ‘meet’ online. It has enlisted a number of bloggers and editors to contribute to its community-focused blog, including interviews with ex-pats and aims to act, in the words of Bacas-Hosaka, as a ‘virtual home’, for new nomads.
In The Beginning…
So why the need for a network such as LondonAmigo.com? Bacas-Hosaka puts it down to being a self-confessed new nomad and finding there wasn’t enough information out there for her and other people in similar situations. The network is based upon a model which is a combination of Craig’s List, Lonely Planet and TimeOut.
“After living in the UK for several years and constantly receiving calls from friends asking me to help their friends and family when moving over, I thought of making a website so that everyone could access the information,” she told NMK.
Although the majority of LondonAmigo.com’s target market speaks English due to the presence of workers from the Commonwealth and North America, the site is targeting the large number of Turkish, Spanish and Polish speakers in London.
“We present the content - professionally written, not user-generated, for quality purposes - in the language of the main migrant communities in each city, for example Spanish, Polish, Turkish, Chinese, French and German for London, Japanese and Korean for Sydney, and so on,” she explained. “We can ‘accompany’ new nomads on their journey from planning to move to a new city to helping them settle with all practical needs and developing their social life.”
For Bacas-Hosaka, social networking is now an integral part of everyday life for new nomads providing a way to creating new friendships and maintaining existing ones over long distances.
“[With social networks] people will plan their friendships. As cold as it sounds, it is an easy way to break the ice and meet people ahead, ensuring they are what you are looking for before having to meet in person,” she said. “Our world is now a visual world. Social networks are not a trend, they are here to stay. Also they are great for organising events. I think that’s where many people will keep making use of it, once their social circle is established.”
The next CityAmigo sites to launch will be Lviv in Ukraine, Madrid, Sydney and New Zealand (as a whole country).The London-based duo now own 45 domains and plan to reach cities with large numbers of ex-pats, including New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Tokyo.