Expats And Social Media
Expats then and now. The phenomenal rise of social media is really pretty recent – okay, so back in the mid-2000s there was a plethora of networking sites that were available to all, but there wasn’t a leading site that everyone was on.
Different networks catered to different demographics, and it was only when Facebook opened up to the public that you had a social media one-stop destination.
The rise of Facebook and the continued popularity of blogging – as well as technologies like Skype and front-facing camera smartphones have changed the whole expat experience for those who are keen on keeping in touch with the folks back home.
And it saves a lot of time, as well.
Rather than going to the time and expense of writing and duplicating a round-robin letter (never mind the format’s slightly impersonal touch) you can now get those cool photos of you on the beach in Sydney or waking on the pavement in Shanghai across the world to your nearest and dearest in an instant – almost literally.
And what’s more, it’s never impersonal since people can interact with your content by liking, commenting, Tweeting and so on.
Social media and research
For prospective expatriates or people curious about what life might be like in another country, social media platforms also open up a whole new world of information.
Prior to the popularity of expat blogs and forums, anyone seeking info on life in a new country would have had to consult country and city guides in book form. These continue to be great resources, but are by their nature not interactive and can’t go too far into specifics due to the limitations of space.
Forums, on the other hand, provide a wealth of information the type that only those ‘on the ground’ can have.
- You want to know the best part of New Jersey to live in with medium rent?
- Where the best Chinese restaurants in Düsseldorf, Germany are?
- The price of English language schools in Singapore?
Generally all it takes is to find one of the major expat forums and there are people there willing to offer their experience in helping you answer any questions you may have. Forums are an extremely useful resource and you can find out a lot about healthcare systems and how to use them, public transport, and local customs by browsing forums even if you’re not a member of one.
Expat blogging is also a great way to get a flavour of places you’ve not yet been. Just about every major city across the globe (and a great many towns and villages too) have resident expats reporting on their daily life there. Many of these bloggers are talented writers and photographers, with their web presence providing a window into their experiences settling into their new country, and all the language challenges as well as the rewards of the expat life, meeting new people, eating all kinds of new cuisine, and, just sometimes, pining for home.
Ralf's comment: I'm almost an expat myself, living in Thailand most of the year, and only visiting my home country, Germany, for a few weeks 2 or 3 times a year.
The internet enabled location independent business for lots of people, and social media is a nice addition to that.
What I found is that Facebook messaging replaced email with many people.
One of my blog posts, where I published a series of Thailand pics, receives tons of visitors, but from a business standpoint it's untargeted traffic, of course.
A social site I find specifically interesting for doing biz abroad is http://www.meetup.com. It's an easy way to connect to local people and other expats based on interests, including topics relevant to your business.
Category: Internet Business Blog |