All about horsesmouth

What is horsesmouth?
Why, thank you for asking. horsesmouth is a new, free, social networking site with a real social purpose. It enables secure, private one-to-one mentoring relationships between private individuals sharing the wisdom from their personal experiences.

horsesmouth does not offer professional advice. Our mentors may be professionals in their own right, but when they register here they are operating in a personal capacity and profile themselves according to their own perspective. Nor do we host discussion forums and chatrooms – conversations are one-to-one and people can choose who to talk to via their profiles.

However, we do encourage people to share their conversations with the community and to publish their ‘Pearls of wisdom’ for all members to browse.

What is horsesmouth for?
It’s a place where as a member you can find someone to inspire, support or advise you on the challenges you are facing from the perspective of someone who’s ‘been there, done that’. Or as a mentor, you can give something back by sharing  your life lessons with others facing the same thing.

Who is horsesmouth for?
It’s for you, providing you are 16 years old or over and have access to a UK mobile phone (for registration purposes; if you don’t have a UK mobile phone, email for help with registering). Anyone with life experiences, achievements or lessons learned can be a horsesmouth mentor, and anyone with a life could be a horsesmouth member.

What’s in it for me?
As a member, horsesmouth gives you direct access to people from all walks of life, all of whom are here to help you. As a mentor, horsesmouth provides you with an easy, safe and meaningful way to give something back and to put your life lessons to good use. Remember, someone needs what you know and someone knows what you need.

Who funds horsesmouth?
Edge, the independent, charitable foundation devoted to raising the status of practical and vocational learning, has provided funding to help launch horsesmouth. This funding has been matched by v, the independent charity launched to campaign youth volunteering in England.

What is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who has learnt a thing or two and wants to help others. If you are willing to share this learning in a thoughtful and sensitive manner to help someone through a time of transition, we welcome you as a horsesmouth mentor. To find out more about being a mentor go to our Thinking About Mentoring? page.

How do I sign up for horsesmouth?
First, make sure you have your mobile phone handy (you’ll need it for your registration code). Second, go to our registration page.

What information do I need to give?
To register as a member, you need to give us your name, date of birth, email address, mobile phone number and location. But none of this information is visible to other users on the site, and none of it will be passed on to others. If you’re signing up to mentor other people, you need to give quite in-depth information about your life experiences. This is published on the site to help ensure members contact the right mentor for them.

What will you do with my information?
None of the information you give will be shared with any person or company outside of horsesmouth.

Will others see me on horsesmouth?
If you’re a member, those online will see your username and the image you chose from our library. If you’re signed up to mentor, they will see your username, age, your chosen image and a list of the life experiences you have chosen to mentor on. The information you provide when registering as a mentor is called ‘Your profile’.

What isn’t allowed on horsesmouth?
Conversations must not include anything that might be regarded as harassing, threatening, abusive, vulgar, obscene, defamatory, racist or otherwise unlawful. We also advise that you do not use your real name or any personal detail that could identify you either as your username or in your profile.

What is my profile for?
If you haven’t signed up to mentor, you’ll have a limited profile that simply displays your username and image.

Your profile is how other members will initially get to know you. If someone searches for a mentoring topic that appears in your profile, your profile will appear in their search results. After reading it, they should have some idea of what kind of person you are and what you want to mentor on. They can then make an informed decision about whether or not to contact you.

Can I change my profile?
Of course you can, as often as you like, just click on ‘My profile’.

Can I change my username?
We can change your username for you, however we do not encourage this as it can be confusing for other members.

If you are sure you would like to change your username, we recommend you contact anyone you have been speaking to and let them know that you are planning to change it, then just contact Customer Services letting us know what username you would like and, if it is available, we will send you an email confirming the change.

How do I find someone to talk to?
If you’re looking for a mentor, you can find one by searching the site. Either type a subject or issue into the search box (e.g. ‘parenting’ or ‘engineering’ or whatever it is you need mentoring on) into the search box, or have a browse through our Life, Work and Learning sections. Once you’ve found an interesting profile, you can introduce yourself by clicking ‘Contact mentor’. Then just sit back, relax and wait for the mentor to get back to you.

If you’re looking for someone to mentor, you can either make your profile as appealing as possible and wait for someone to contact you, post a Shout Out or you can try approaching members directly through ‘Calls for help’.

How does a conversation work?
For security reasons, mentoring exchanges are conducted only through your message centre, in the form of emails. Think of it as an email service reserved for mentoring only.

You can share as much or as little personal information as you like with your mentor, but we do ask you not to share alternative contact information such as email, postal address or phone numbers. Anything along these lines will be seen by the moderators who will ask you to change it. Sorry about this, but we have to make sure everyone using the site is as safe as possible.

What is a ‘Pearl of wisdom’?
A ‘Pearl of wisdom’ is a short nugget of information or wisdom that a member would like to share with the rest of the horsesmouth community. Once you’ve signed up to mentor, you can create ‘Pearls of wisdom’ at any time by going to ‘My pearls of wisdom’ in your profile.

Can I have more than one mentoring exchange at the same time?
Yes! You can have as many mentoring exchanges as you like through the site, all at the same time.

What is a ‘Request to publish’?
A ‘Request to publish’ happens when you’re mentoring another horsesmouth user, and they think your wise words are just so wise that they should be shared with the rest of the world (or at least the rest of the horsesmouth community). If you accept a ‘Request to publish’, your conversation will be published on the site for people to read.

How is horsesmouth moderated?
horsesmouth is moderated by a team of people that make sure you are protected from internet nasties and also make sure that in the heat of the moment you don’t say something you might regret later.

How do I end a conversation?
You can begin and end the conversation whenever you like – an exchange could last for two days, two weeks or two months. Most exchanges will probably deal with a specific problem or issue and can end when this has been dealt with and properly discussed. It’s a good idea to set targets at the beginning – what kind of information you want, and what kind of help you can give. Most conversations will wind down naturally, however, you should not feel under any pressure to keep the conversation going if you feel you have given all the help you can. It is usually a good idea to sum up what you think the original issues were, and what you think has been achieved if you wish to conclude the conversation at a certain point.

Can I take a break from the site?
Yes, of course you can. If you would like to take a break from mentoring you can simply make yourself unavailable by going into the Your Time Tracking section and setting your time limit to zero. By doing this your profile will be removed from the search system until you return to the site and increase your limit. In addition you can choose to set an auto reply to respond to anyone on the site you have already been speaking to, who may attempt to contact you during this time. You may tailor this response to something more personal by clicking on ‘Manage auto replies’. If, however, you would prefer your details to be removed from our system altogether we can do this for you,simply contact and request this be done. However, this will mean that, should you return to the site in future, you will need to re-register with a new username.


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