36 Hours Trapped In Collapsed Single-Man Tent In The Scottish Highlands Inspires New Social Network For Scotland

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"Scotster" is the first free social networking website dedicated to bringing Scots around the globe together both online and away from the internet. It unites communities, enables people to promote local events, share photos and memories, and makes it easy to find new friends who enjoy doing the same things. Launched this month, Scotster is the new social networking and photo sharing website for Scotland and its friends.

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Scotland needs its own social site so that people can find others who enjoy the same stuff they do and then maybe next time I'll have a few people to talk to on these trips into the great wilderness. I'm also confident it will help me and others find new friends in the city and all around Scotland.

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Whether 100% Scottish, part of Scotland's extended family around the world, interested in Scotland's history or simply in love with Scotland, there is now a free photo sharing and social networking site focusing on people and their connections to Scotland.

Scotsters can publish photo albums, broadcast videos, create opinion polls, set up local events, invite people and manage guestlists through the website (http://www.scotster.com/). This unique approach of combining the online and offline worlds enables everyone, and particularly people moving to new areas, to easily expand their social circle of local friends. The website is based on a framework developed over the last decade which already supports other networks where members organise over 5,000 social events every year.

With 2009 being the first year of Homecoming Scotland, promoting a social and events programme to people worldwide, Scotster's timely launch is set to connect people visiting Scotland from overseas with those already living in Scotland.

Scotster was conceived in a tent during the wet summer of 2008. Jason Finch was to enjoy five nights of wild camping on the way to climb his first Munros, including the remote A' Mhaighdean in the northwest Highlands. "I returned to camp at Loch a' Bhrisidh one evening and found it looking like a rough sea, waves crashing at the shoreline. Torrential rain and gales lasted two nights and a day, after which the tent support was dead and it was letting in a lot of water. But the time incarcerated on my own gave me an idea about bringing people together."

After only a few days online, Scotster already has Members aged from 16 to 76 and from as far afield as Canada, the USA, France, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Scotland and the rest of the UK. Lynne Gourlay from West Lothian was one of the pioneers, discovering Scotster through a "fan page" set up on Facebook that has already attracted over 1,200 fans of Scotster. She commented: "Scotster lets people set up very detailed profiles about themselves and always shows who else is online at the same time. It's really easy to strike up conversations about photos and the things that interest people. Whereas sites like Facebook concentrate on existing friends, Scotster is more open and I'm already looking forward to meeting other Scotsters."

Finch explained more about the origins of his Scottish venture: "I started coming to Scotland in April after spending six months living in a remote part of the Canadian Rockies. I returned to England but decided that Scotland was the place to be to bring me closer to the mountains and the extended wild camping experiences that I enjoy so much. Now I'm based in Edinburgh I have, like many, fallen in love with the beautiful landscapes so near to the city, found the people to be so friendly and become fascinated with the history of Scotland and the amazing connections to this great country that people have from all around the globe."

"Scotland needs its own social site so that people can find others who enjoy the same stuff they do and then maybe next time I'll have a few people to talk to on these trips into the great wilderness. I'm also confident it will help me and others find new friends in the city and all around Scotland."

Notes:

Jason Finch, 35, is based in Central Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, and is available for interview and further comment. He has been involved with the internet since 1995 when he was co-founder of internet consultancy firm 'port80', working with clients as diverse as Lotus Cars, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Toshiba Europe, UniChem, Swinton and Boots. He has been named one of the North of England's "42 under 42" by business magazine Insider.

He made it to the summit of A' Mhaighdean! Photos of Jason on the summit with one of the best views in Scotland are available at various resolutions and with permission for publication.

http://www.scotster.com

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Jason Finch
Scotster
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