*Note: This article was originally published on Pride Pocket prior to merging with MyUmbrella*
You may have heard of HER. It is one of the most popular queer dating apps on the market, boasting over 2 million users in 55 countries. After Ellen gushed, “HER introduces itself as “the app that will introduce you to every lesbian you ever wanted to meet. Finally, you can start dating a lesbian that hasn’t slept with any of your friends. Your weekend just got gayer because now you know where to go to.” HER knows all the right things to say.”
They attribute their success to a unique platform that functions as a way for queer women to meet each other online and engage as a community. They are far more inclusive than their competitors, offering a multitude of sexual and gender identity options for accurate self-description, as well as a range of connections that a user can choose to seek, and clearly display.
HER pulls away from the dating competition in one other crucial way– by encouraging users to report profiles that are made by straight men or straight couples looking for a threesome, allowing unprecedented usability for queer women fatigued by the unavoidable unwanted attention on other platforms. HER was designed for queer women by a queer woman – Robyn Exton – who we look forward to speaking with as a part of our Interview Series in the coming year.
This time we had the opportunity to speak with HER Content + Community Manager, Shana Summers, to discuss how she became involved with HER, how they have managed to become one of the largest queer communities in the world, and why she loves her job.
Despite her meteoric rise through the company, Shana never planned to be a preeminent queer community organizer or director of content for an international brand.
No, as she explained, “My background is in Music Therapy. When I became aware of HER, I was working on my Master’s in Special Education.” It was a glorious accident that began with a casual offer to travel to cover the GIRL THING parties while traveling to Sydney, Australia. While discussing that experience, Shana advised, “If you are ever given an opportunity to attend a GIRL THING event, seriously, do not miss it. They throw some of the best girl events in the world.” After seeing her writing, and the connections she amassed on her first assignment, the team at HER asked her to stay on to continue doing outreach for the duration of her summer vacation. She kicked ass, was asked to step in with social media, quickly worked her way to Director of Social Media, and then this past summer, finally accepted a full-time role at headquarters, as Content + Community Manager.
“We’re pushing to be way more than just a dating app,” she emphasized, while giving us her take on the incredible response that HER has received in the community. “We are currently producing events in 30 cities worldwide, and that’s more than 120 parties every year. We have worked hard, and continue to like, evolve, to make sure that everyone across gender and the sexual spectrum is represented. You can post about your own events and connect locally, and globally.”
Shana oversees and coordinates with the local teams in every city to produce each and every HER event, often traveling to provide hands-on assistance. She’s also tuned into the ways that women are using the app to connect and produce their own events, and told us, “Even though we’re 18+, we are seeing more and more young women joining the app and connecting in ways that don’t necessarily center our staple events, which mostly take place in 21+ venues. You can use the community features in any way you want, and we’re seeing people really take advantage of that. It also really helps that you can be on there to make friends, or find collaborators, or double dates, and clearly state that on your profile. That really opens things up.”
When we asked Shana what she loves about her job, she leveled with us, explaining, “I’ve only been in the office for two months, and every day I continue to be amazed by seeing what really goes on behind the scenes. There is nothing like seeing the full scope of what goes into the project and then knowing that all the work is going directly into your community, knowing that you have a real impact and are a part of a global network.” She went on to say, “I would never have imagined having this experience, seeing people doing this, being a part of a change in my community. I can only describe it as amazing.”
For now, Shana is enjoying the happy accident that was her initial involvement with HER, but just because she’s skyrocketed to the top of the organization, don’t expect to see her slowing down. When asked what inspires her most about working for HER, she answered without pause– “We’re not even close to maximum impact. We have so much more that we’re going to do.”
Well, I, for one, am excruciatingly excited to see what’s in store for the future of this revolutionary brand.
Want to know more about HER? Why not check out this Dating-Apps.Com article that states, “Her is the only dating app I will ever use again.”
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