I caught this story on the BBC website earlier this week, about new microblogging site menshn, set up to rival Twitter.
Created by UK politician Louise Mensch, the goal is simple. In Mensch’s own words:
“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.”
Her partner in the venture, Luke Bozier, offers even more reasons why they created menshn.
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.
Essentially, what they’re saying is that Twitter is frustrating because there’s no way to keep conversations on topic, hence the need for menshn.
Except there’s not. Here are three reasons why.
The simplest and easiest way to separate discussions and topics on Twitter is through the use of hashtags, or the little # symbol. Placed at the end of the tweet, it allows Twitter’s search function to just list tweets about that topic, and that topic alone.
Yes, you’ll get the occasional spammer jumping in promoting their crud, but for the most part, hashtags work really well. And it’s on that “frustrating service” Mensch is on about in her reasoning.
Another great option, and one I’ve used several times for live blogging and discussions, is CoverItLive.
Around since 2007, CoverItLive offers a host of solutions for your specific live discussion/blogging needs, as well as much more. Three of the ways CoverItLive negate Mensch’s concerns are:
- Rich media and fully moderated host rooms for live blogging and chats, with branding available to make it a true personal topic.
- Interactive content updates, with streams and comments from Facebook and Twitter (amongst others).
- Community building through personalization, ensuring every topic attendee feels they’re being heard and offering something of value.
If both Mensch and Crozier want to really discuss the topics they want to, in a targeted way, and they feel Twitter hashtags won’t work, CoverItLive would have them covered (no pun intended).
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of the Livefyre comments system. Not only is it the best commenting platform around (for me, anyhoo), it’s also one of the most interactive systems around, and perfect for live Question and Answer sessions.
All three chats were centred around a specific topic – smart branding, marketing’s challenges in this digital-led age, and personal branding success through doing unpopular things.
Each chat was a huge success. Lasting roughly one hour, there were over 200 comments on each post, and each comment was essentially a question from attendees, that was answered in return by the “panelist”.
I have a few more specials coming soon, with even more interactivity – and, again, Liveyfre and they way it’s a true conversation platform would negate the need for menshn.
The Deal with menshn?
With these three examples alone, the need for menshn disappears – or, at the very least, seems less valid.
Now, it may be that it offers private chat options – but that can be done by CoverItLive and Livefyre (you could make the blog post password-protected). And there’s no platform that’s as “live” as Twitter when it comes to instant chats (Livefyre too).
So, I’m wondering where the benefit is for using menshn? It’s only available in the U.S. right now, so it’s difficult to gauge. But, from the reasons given by its creators, it seems to be something where there’s no real need for it in the first place.
I guess time will tell…
- Mensch launches rival to Twitter (bbc.co.uk)
- Why I won’t be using Menshn, and you shouldn’t either (gigaom.com)