British politician launches US-only alternative to Twitter

Does the format and frequency of Twitter frequently leave you frustrated instead of educated, and feeling left out of the conversation instead of right there in the middle of everything that’s going on? If so, then British politician Louise Mensch has the solution for you… as long as you live in America, that is.

Mensch is one of the two creators of Menshn, a new site that describes itself as “a new social network, formed around a simple idea – talk, on topic.” As might be expected considering Mensch’s day job, the initial focus of the network will be political discussion, but the Menshn Rules point out that “future versions of the site will expand our rooms into every topic that has demand for it. World Series? Check. Weddings? Check. Olympics? Check.”

Those same rules point out the kind of moderation that users can expect from the network. “If you harass, spam, clog feeds and so forth, we can delete your account without notice,” the rules state, going on to say that posts “age off” the site after a week and will not be stored on servers, but “reported or rated [messages], or [messages] we are asked to keep by legal authorities or to investigate a complaint, we may keep as long as we choose.” Anything posted to the site will become available to other users, Menshn or – interestingly – “future partner companies” for use, but anything illegal, including malware or libel, “it’s on you,” according to the site. “We will absolutely co-operate with law enforcement. So take responsibilty for anything you menshn.”

The network is the result of Mensch, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Corby, finding herself increasingly upset with a certain 140-character-limit network of most people’s acquaintance. “This is an idea that I’ve had since Christmas. I’ve been a passionate user of social media since the days of AOL chatrooms, and that was the inspiration really,” she told the Guardian newspaper. “[Business partner Luke Bozier and I] were both frustrated at the way Twitter doesn’t focus on topics. We both love Twitter, but if you want to focus on the election there’s no obvious place to do that online. Twitter is just too random. We wanted to encourage people to have conversations rather than broadcast their thoughts.”

Currently, Menshn – Named for a play on the word “mention” and not a play on her last name, she claims – offers three “rooms” for American political junkies: One for the Obama campaign, one for the Romney campaign, and a third generic one covering the US Election in general. As of this writing, there’s a discussion over which presidential candidate has watched the most pornography. Perhaps Menshn may be about to discover that thread drift isn’t always a bad thing…

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