At this point in Internet history, social networks are already becoming old news, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some factions who think there are new and innovative ways to approach the space. To that end, the team of Luke Bozier, previously the head of digital communications for former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Louise Mensch, a Conservative member of the U.K. Parliament, have decided to launch their own social network.
The site is called Menshn, which reads like a nod to co-founder Mensch’s surname, but is pronounced as “mention.” The idea behind the site is to take the short message style of Twitter and focus the conversations into distinct silos of specific subjects. And, like Twitter, the messages have a limit—in this case, 180 characters per post. However, unlike Twitter, the messages on the site will expire after a mere seven days. Upon signup each user is automatically given 100 subscribers, the option to up-vote certain posts, block annoying accounts, and temporarily mute other members.
“With all the great political forums out there, we noticed that there was no place to talk about politics live,” Bozier said. “Whereas Twitter is not organized around topics, on Menshn you have a permanent place to go online to talk about the things you’re most interested in.”
A quick tour of the site reveals a clean and light interface that seems well suited to the task of fostering lively conversations, although some minor bugs still pop up here and there. Oddly, considering the profiles of the founders, the site will not serve the U.K. public upon launch. Instead, the site’s first iteration is directed at U.S. users and focuses on the upcoming presidential election.
“We’re thrilled to be launching Menshn as the [U.S.] election cycle gets into gear,” Mensch said. “On Menshn political junkies like me can talk live to their peers about every poll, every swing state, every twist and turn of the world’s most enthralling political contest.”
Other featured topics scheduled for the near future, such as the approaching London Olympics, will cater more directly to the U.K. audience. “As we grow, we look forward to adding rooms and topics as the community drives demand,” Mensch said.
Last year, during the London riots, Mensch posted a series of messages to Twitter that supported the prime minister’s plan to block social media in the event of an emergency. “Common sense. If riot info and fear is spreading by Facebook & Twitter, shut them off for an hour or two, then restore. World won’t implode,” she said at the time.