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Wednesday 7th December 2016
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Health mentoring from horses mouth

26th October 2007

Horsesmouth.co.uk, the world’s first ‘pro-social’ networking site, is purpose-built for informal e-mentoring.

horsesmouth

With millions of people already using online forums such as Facebook and MySpace to share music and photos, horsesmouth offers a safe and moderated environment to mentor other people by sharing knowledge and experience.

One of the most popular topics on the site is health and wellbeing. Despite not being formally launched until mid-November, hundreds of people have already volunteered to act as mentors on health issues, including professional healthcare staff and members of the public. Many thousands more are expected to sign up over the next few months, creating a huge informal health mentoring community.

One mentor, a Spanish female aged 38, calls herself ‘Ladypepa’. Her profile reads: “I am a qualified doctor, and have experienced a variety of things in the last few years including bereavement and cancer. I love my job and am always keen to learn new things.? Another mentor writes: “I have been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 52 years. I have refused to allow it to constrain my achievements - but recognise that it has been, and is, a condition which is a source of uncertainty and stress for those closest to me…?

One of the main areas covered by the site is health. Anybody with an interest in discussing an educational matter will only need to type in a few words into the site’s search engine to be presented with a list of other users who have volunteered to mentor on that topic. Whether they are looking for guidance, reassurance, inspiration or just an opportunity to communicate with somebody, users will be able to find what they’re looking for on horsesmouth.

In contrast to other social networking sites, horsesmouth users have to let their looks go: profiles do not contain photographs or real names. In order to make the site safe, all profiles are moderated before posting and no real names or email addresses can be used. Tools have been created to rate and reward mentors, and to report and block inappropriate behaviour.  
Conversations are secure but can be published with permission of both parties, along with particular pearls of wisdom, and become part of the site’s searchable content –which it calls ‘the library of life’.

 

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