THE BLOG
20/06/2012 10:40 BST | Updated 20/08/2012 06:12 BST

Louise Mensch Launches Rival To Twitter. Calls It Menshn.

And if I'd read about this on April 1st, I'd have thought the whole thing was a giant April Fool's prank. But, apparently, Louise Mensch, MP, is venturing in to the world of social media by launching a rival service to Twitter.

My wife quite liked the books she wrote under the surname Bagshawe. I think she looks quite pretty for a politician.

And if I'd read about this on April 1st, I'd have thought the whole thing was a giant April Fool's prank. But, apparently, Louise Mensch, MP, is venturing in to the world of social media by launching a rival service to Twitter.

The MP told The Guardian that the site's name, Menshn, is a play on the word mention. Seems to me it's more obviously a play on her own name...

A huge advocate of social media, Louise Mensch has used the Internet to her advantage and is a regular contributor to the micro-blogging site Twitter, which she cites as the reason behind setting up her own version of the service.

According to her and business partner Luke Bozier, Twitter's lack of focus is frustrating, even though they are large fans of the service. The site's large following makes for conversations to be highly random and the thought process is that Menshn will be a more focused version of the micro-blogging site, staying on topic rather than being dragged away from it.

But isn't that the art of conversation? Certainly, any good chinwag that I've been involved in evolves in to a discussion about something else and the same happens with subjects on Twitter and Facebook.

Menshn is launching as a US-only service at first, meaning those of us in the UK can't really see whether it's worth considering or not. Your starter for ten will feature topics focusing on politics and its launch is timed to capitalise on the upcoming Presidential Elections.

I can't see, at first glance, how the MP's new site is really going to differ. Topics can be followed on Twitter thanks to the use of hashtags and it's not clear how Menshn will prevent conversations going off topic once the discussion starts to evolve.

Rivals to Twitter and Facebook pop up from time-to-time and then disappear in to relative obscurity, the two big brands continuing - for now at least - to maintain their dominance in the social media blogosphere.

If Louise Mensch thinks she can take on the might of Twitter, perhaps she should look to Google for an indication of how successful it will be. The mighty search engine company has desperately tried to dethrone both Twitter and Facebook over the years with the launch of products such as Wave (now defunct) and Buzz (which faced a similar fate). And they're currently treading water with Google Plus, who's long-term success is based on integration with their well-established e-mail service GMail, their Google Drive service and the growth of their mobile operating platform, Android.

And even then, attracting people away from firm favourites Twitter and Facebook is proving difficult for them. As a stand alone product with only one agenda in mind, it could probably work, but many of us who like to use such services don't want to have to hop from one to another. The appeal of Twitter is that I can discuss whatever topic I like through one medium, not several.

A clever play on a noun or a surname, therefore, is unlikely to threaten Twitter just yet and, sadly, I fear it won't be long before this new service doesn't get menshnd at all...