Tory MP Louise Mensch launches social network

Conservative MP Louise Mensch has launched a social network to rival Twitter. The parliamentarian, who has some 60,000 followers and has in the past been accused of tweeting too much, has said that Menshn.com targets Twitter users who enjoy engaging on the micro-blogging site but find it "frustrating."

"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," Mensch told the Guardian.

Menshn.com limits conversations by topic and caps posts at 180 characters, 40 more than Twitter allows. New members are automatically subscribed to the feeds of 100 users deemed influential by Mensch, and can subscribe to or block other users.

The network is for now only available in the US, and discussions are currently limited to three election-related topics: the elections in general, Barack Obama's campaign and the Mitt Romney campaign. The discussion subject areas will evolve as the site's membership grows and evolves.

"We were both frustrated at the way Twitter doesn't focus on topics. We both love Twitter, but if you want to focus on the election there's no obvious place to do that online. Twitter is just too random," said Menshn.com co-founder Luke Bozier. "We wanted to encourage people to have conversations rather than broadcast their thoughts."

The site aims to be available in the UK in time for the Olympics, though no official date has been set.