Tory MP Louise Mensch launches rival to Twitter

Louise Mensch Louise Mensch insists the new site's name is not a pun on her surname

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Conservative MP Louise Mensch has launched a microblogging site to rival Twitter.

Ms Mensch is a prolific Twitter user with almost 60,000 followers but said she has grown "frustrated" with it.

Her new site - Menshn - aims to keep conversations on topic and allows 180 character posts - 40 more than Twitter.

The site, jointly owned by ex-Labour digital adviser Luke Bozier, is only available in the US but aims to launch in the UK before the London Olympics.

Discussion on Menshn has initially been restricted to the US election but Ms Mensch says it will expand to reflect users' interests.

When new members join they gain 100 randomly selected subscribers, equivalent to Twitter followers.

'Inspiration'

Mr Bozier said: "With all the great political forums out there, we noticed that there was no place to talk about politics live.

"Whereas Twitter is not organised around topics, on menshn you have a permanent place to go online to talk about the things you're most interested in."

Twitter users can organise discussions through the use of hashtags or searching by keyword and choose whose Tweets they read by following or unfollowing other users.

The new site has had a largely hostile reaction from Twitter users so far, with some accusing Ms Mensch of vanity and predicting that the site will flop.

The Corby MP has insisted the site's name is not a pun on her surname, as it is spelled differently, and is, rather, a play on the word "mention".

Users who type "menschn.com" into web browsers are currently being redirected to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament site.

Ms Mensch, who was a "chick lit" novelist before becoming an MP in 2010, said she hopes the site would attract Twitter users who find the site "frustrating".

She told The Guardian: "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."

Last month, Ms Mensch, who says she hopes to raise venture capital backing for her new site, criticised "immoral and misogynistic" Twitter users for subjecting her to abuse.

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