Alright, I told you just a few days ago that I was digging around for a new language exchange site to check out. I mean, even if I were to find a new language exchange partner in the middle of this, it would still be useful information to have for my little site.
So, after hours of searching through a rather sad collection of shutdown pages, and a surprisingly large number of places that charge money, I found only a single site to try. Sad, I know, but what else could I do? Well the site is called, “The Mixxer”, and if you’re interested the link is http://www.language-exchanges.org/.
So, what did I think about this page? It wasn’t very good. I’m kind of surprised to say this, but I think the other site (that I can’t think of the name of, and we all know I’m too lazy to look it up) that I have in my links section really kind of spoiled me. So, what’s wrong with this site?
Well, first you have to make an account before you can look through the profiles. I can understand the reasoning, but it’s a hassle, even if I wanted to be a member. I mean, who wants to log in every time they want to see if there’s a new, interesting, ad up? Speaking of creating an account, it was kind of strange. It had first name as a requirement, but doesn’t show that on my page anywhere, what’s more, it asked for my e-mail, but didn’t put it in my profile, or even send me a “creating account” e-mail. I find this odd, because it’s been years since I’ve registered somewhere that I didn’t have to load up my e-mail and click some link.
So, in truth, as a bit of a warning, I’m somewhat concerned about spam from them. I mean, if it’s not in my profile, and you don’t need it for authenticating my account, why ask for it? Still, I haven’t received any yet, but people might want to be a bit cautious about it. I always use a junk account for stuff like this anyway, so it really doesn’t matter to me, but other people might care.
So, during this account creation I had two fields I could fill out at the bottom, “Description” and “Comments”. Being the lazy sort that I am, and since I was mostly just checking out how the page worked before I actually got into any serious account creation, I chose to leave these blank. I mean, who wants to click on my junk profile anyway? Well, what it doesn’t tell you is that this section seems to be used for your ad. I’m not sure which of the two, but given how they have them setup, I believe it’s the description portion.
So, on the right you can put in what language you speak and what you want to learn, then it’ll put up a list of all of the people who share your goal (or rather, the opposite, but you get what I mean). You can actually detail it a little more, by putting in a country that you’d like them to be from, and I think one other choice, but I wanted the broadest options possible, after all, I’m here to see how busy the site is too.
Now, the strange thing about this is it asks me what language I want to learn and what my native language is, considering that’s in my profile, and I have to log in to even access this search, that seems a little bit tedious, but I can forgive it, because I could see someone wanting to maybe expand their horizons every now and then.
So, I filled it out and got 20+ pages of different ads, all stacked in a neat little line. Each page had something like 15+ people on it, but in truth, I didn’t count. This is where I really had a bit of a problem. Since this thing is based off of people’s descriptions (or comments) I got some really strange results in the search, and I got even more results that were just plain blank. Course, the one that really got me was when my first result was a Chinese woman, who wanted to practice English and Chinese, with no mention of Japanese in her ad or on her page. O.o
Now, some people did actually list things like their interests in their ads, and most people did seem to figure out how to fill out the ad portion, so at least other people would know they exist. This is great, but it has the worst sorting method I’ve ever seen. It defaults to sorting by the date that you last logged in. So, if you’ve been a member for 2 years, but logged in 5 minutes ago, you’re at the top of my list. Why is this bad? Because I have no idea if you’re still looking for a language exchange partner.
Since this page offers things like blogs that people can correct, and groups that people can make for helping students, these people could be logging in, already having many language exchange partners, and they just simply forgot to change their description. Or, maybe they really are still looking for more people, but it’s pretty much impossible to tell.
So, will the site work? Yeah, you could probably find a language exchange partner from it, but it’ll take a lot of work on your end. Between no baseline listing of interests, and the worst sorting method I’ve ever seen for something like that, it’ll be a bit of a pain to use.
And now, for a bit of a personal rant. First, why do so many people put up their full names and pictures on sites like these? Maybe it’s just me and my paranoia, but I’d never be willing to do that (and I know it could easily be fake information, but if you’re gonna fake it, why bother putting that up either?). As though that question wasn’t interesting enough on its own, I have another one. When did tennis become so popular? I went through 15 pages on that site and at least half of the people that actually wrote down interests wrote down tennis as one of the first things on their list! Don’t get me wrong, I had a little fun with tennis during Gym class at school, but it’s not usually something I hear about very often, so I find such a large collection of people listing that as an interest/hobby… interesting. =P
Wow, 1,076 words just for that. I guess I was feeling a bit talkative this evening. =P おやすみなさい！ =D