iTalki, Mastodon, a new generation of social networks

  • iTalki

It’s not that easy to practice the language you are learning, I mean to really have the opportunity to exchange with a native speaker. In the past I tried several app pretending to fill this gap, but none of them were satisfactory. At the beginning of April, I came upon an enthusiastic review of iTalki, and it’s really much more enjoyable than everything I’ve experienced before in this field. 

First of all, there are a variety of languages available, but since it’s a Shanghai-based firm, you can find a lot of chinese-speaking people. In no more than 3 weeks, I now have 9 partners, 7 of them speaking chinese, from PRC and Taïwan.  I was able to chat in chinese several times this month, it was of a great help to test out my vocabulary and learn new words. Furthermore, there are other sections that can help you learn from the others, for instance you can post a question in the “notebook” section, and people will help you correct :



In the “community” section, you can find articles in many languages that will help you with grammar and give you tips to improve your learning. In the “answers” and “discussions” sections, there are talks about everyday life, language topics, translations, etc…. In those parts of the iTalki website, all languages are mixed, with I find is very interesting for “languageholics” (!) like me :



Of course you can also find authentic lessons from graduate teachers, at that point you have to pay for your lessons (the website must be viable), but you can also decide you just want to exchange free of charge with your correspondents.

iTalki does provide an iOs and an Android app, so it’s definitely highly recommended for people studying chinese, it’s a must-have !


  • Mastodon

    It’s been precisely 8 years since I started to post on twitter, and I must say it’s been a drag lately : there is too much advertising, your timeline is no more organized according to a temporal criterion, but following popularity criteria, etc etc…you know that.  Then came Mastodon ! It’s very recent for me, so it’s still also fresh and exciting, but it appears to me that it will be a really good and powerful alternative to twitter. It’s been a few days now, and still I do not check my twitter account anymore, I prefer its new counterpart !




In the example hereinabove, showing the desktop version, you can find on the left the space where you can post your ‘pouets’ (500 characters, much more than twitter !), the second column shows your timeline (all the people you are following), the third column the interactions with others, and in the last you can choose between the ‘pouets’ of your instance or those of your “global” network, which strictly speaking is not global, it’s correlative of the instances that are linked with your own instance.

That’s why you must be really careful with the instance you choose when you begin with Mastodon, because it will influence what you will find in your “local” network, and in your “global” network”. At the moment, I can only recommend you to choose the mamot instance , since it’s maintained by La Quadrature du Net, and they have high standards on protecting privacy and Net Neutrality.