World's largest ESL social network to host events for members at Olympics
Portland, Ore. - July 17, 2008
The thousands of people traveling from all over the word to be spectators at the Olympic games in Beijing may actually get a chance to compete and gain fame...in the Ebaby! Olympics.
English, baby! (englishbaby.com), the social network where nearly a million people use American pop culture to help them learn conversational English, is sending a cast of characters familiar to users of the site from other videos to hold games on the streets of Beijing. In addition to a steeple chase through the many obstacles of the Hutong, many of the games come from trends on the site.
"Since our members love to unscramble words and play other games on the site's forums, we figured those ought to be Olympics events," says co-founder and CEO John Hayden. "So we've reinvented them into hyper-competitive athletic competitions."
But the website's visit to China represents more than just an opportunity for a 2 am running/tricycle/spelling triathlon. Over a quarter of Ebaby! members are from China. "We're also going to profile a few of our members as examples of the global English movement," says Hayden.
Peng Handan, a 24-year-old graduate student in anthropology and long-time Ebaby! member, will give the group a tour of various aspects of youth culture in Beijing, starting with her dorm complex. "It'll be cool you vedio [sic] tape my dorm," she writes, " but please remember to knock the door first."
"It's well known that about a quarter of the world's population is learning English," says Hayden. "But in the videos we'll produce on this trip, we hope to explore in great detail how and why so many people are learning the language in China."
Visits to members in nearby small villages for a look at traditional Chinese life are also planned, as well as a member-led tour of Beijing nightlife. "And, of course, we're going to catch some Olympic table tennis," adds Hayden.
About English, baby!
Founded in 2000, English, baby!, set out to teach English to the world in an innovative MTV-style manner, virtually immersing students in American culture and conversational English. Social networking features were introduced in 2006 and growth surged. Englishbaby.com is now the largest social network for English learners with 1 million unique visitors per month.