“We are not about being snobby – we just want everyone to be compatible,” said Erik Wachtmeister, founder of the site, http://www.aSmallWorld.net. “Our members are people with large personal networks, frequent travel and highly active socially.”
“In traveling extensively to the world’s social hot spots for many years, I realized there was a community of global nomads who hang out together,” he said. “I decided to make a business out of helping them meet and find solutions to their common problems.”
Those problems, judging from postings on the Web site last week, are not like those found in your average tech-heavy chat room. One member posted a query for the best tailor in Hong Kong; another query, about traveling from Paris to Monaco, prompted telephone numbers for helicopter services from the airport; and one posting revealed how to circumvent the Cuban embargo in New York: “There’s a cigar store right in front of Cipriani downtown. It has the biggest selection of Cuban cigars, but it’s very hush-hush.”
Unlike other social networks, aSmallWorld, which says it has 75,000 members, allows them to interact with people in a purely social context, according to some who have joined.
Joi Ito adds:
Idea behind the site is that there is a group of interconnected people around the world who have similar interests, concerns and problems. These people are wealthy, well-traveled and well-educated. They smallworld is the invitation-only community for these people.
Could gated communities grow more common on the Internet?
Counterintuitive for an open medium, but it does allow creation of self-selected target groups for advertisers, kind of like luxury magazines. Could almost be seen as the next generation of online publication.