Louise Mensch’s Twitter-Like Menshn Opens In UK

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Louise Mensch’s social network launches in the UK to cover England’s Euro2012 failure

Menshn, the Twitter-like social network launched by MP Louise Mensch, has opened for business in the UK.

The service, which promises to be more “on-topic” than its giant rival twitter, now has chat-rooms dedicated to UK politics and the Euro 2012 football tournament. It is home to around 300 members too.

Users can send direct messages, set up private rooms or post in the public chat rooms, with posts limited to 180 characters, instead of Twitter’s 140-character cut-off.

Mensch on UK politics

Menshn’s UK launch was brought forward to Sunday, to capitalise on what turned out to be England’s last game in Euro 2012. The site has been criticised for its complexity and has elements of a social game, where users can get Menshn points when someone follows them, or if they “favourite” a room or “rate” a post.

Mensch (whose profile reads “Co-founder of menshn. Insert quarter. Avoid Klingons”) currently has 1984 points, placing her fifth in the networks leaderboard. Three of  the higher-ranked Menshners have racked up as many as 8500 points, with no visible activity (no recent Menshns), suggesting that some people are playing the system as a game.

Discussion in the UK Politics room covers issues including today’s announcement that Prime Minister David Cameron is considering further cuts to benefits, while the Euro 2012 room predictably covers England’s loss to Italy in the football tournament.

Mensch and her co-founder, former Labour party tech adviser Luke Bozier (1382 points), have been vague about their long-term plans, dismissing the idea of Menshn becoming a real Twitter rival and describing it as a “niche complement”.

Do the pair hope to make money from Menshn? Mensch has yet to respond to a private Menshn message from TechWeekEurope, but has said elsewhere there are no definite plans. “You don’t worry about that too much,” she said. “If you’re an entrepreneur on the web, and you give people a good experience, then the money will follow.”

Commenting on the early UK launch, Mensch said: “This week Twitter crashed because of the volume of Euro 2012 traffic [In fact, Twitter denies this was the cause]. We were originally planning to launch for the Olympics, but the American launch attracted such interest that we thought we had to just go for it.”

Can you rival Mensch’s social network knowledge? Try our quiz!