Fact: Gay men care about more than “hooking up.” But for some reason the bulk of apps designed to serve the gay community are little more than sex facilitators. Why is that?
Meanwhile, it’s long been the goal of Hornet, an app that boasts more than 25 million users worldwide, to facilitate more meaningful connections through technology.
So last October, when Hornet unveiled its long-awaited Version 5 to the world, not only did the app make huge strides by allowing users to connect in more significant ways, it also reinvented what a gay app can be — and thereby what gay men should be demanding of the apps that serve them.
Long gone are the days when a gay app needs to revolve around a grid of guys sorted by proximity. Sure, that’s still a feature of Hornet, but now when you login to the app, you’re placed on a global feed, comprised of content shared by users you follow, photo posts of guys nearby, and articles concerning a range of topics, written by Hornet’s own editorial staff.
So unlike other gay apps in the market, engagement on Hornet is no longer confined to the dark corners of inbox messages; Hornet users are interacting by ‘liking’ fellow users’ photo posts (called Moments in the app) and through discussions over breaking news and pop culture content.
Just listen to how these users are reacting to a brand-new Hornet:
The Hornet feed is a favorite feature of Maxim from Russia, who likes sharing Moments from his own life and likes seeing others’ posts, too. (He’s also a fan of searching for guys by city and keeping up-to-date with news articles on the feed.) “Hornet is different than other gay apps in that it’s so international, and it gives you more chances to find friends, even if they’re in other countries.”
And because Hornet is more than the “hookup app” offered by other gay apps in the market, it’s a favorite platform for guys who are coupled or just not looking for sex or a relationship. “There’s all kinds of people on Hornet. I have a boyfriend, and I use Hornet because I can find great conversation,” says Ozan from Turkey. “As a Moderator and Health Ambassador, I can help people by offering advice or assisting with problems in the app. The app has been a great way for me to meet nice people and spark friendships.”
Wei, who hails from Taiwan, says, “I’ve been a diligent user of dating apps since Grindr was released on the brick-like iPhone 4 years ago. One of my favorite things about Hornet is that it has such a clean interface, and its features are so easy to use.” Wei also contributes to Hornet’s community forum by translating some of the app’s many articles into Chinese.
“With Hornet, we can explore the world!” says Vitor, who calls Brazil home. He likes to use the app when he travels, because he’s able to chat with local guys before he even lands, and what better tour guide than a local guy you’ve connected with beforehand? Vitor also likes to make use of the app’s Moments feature, which allows users to see tons of his photos and not just a single profile pic.
Artois, who lives in Turkey, is also a fan of Hornet’s community programs, which he says “help establish social responsibility among users.” He’s also a fan of all the articles available inside the app, which he notes enable users to follow what’s going on around the world. “I trust Hornet and the team behind it. I think it’s the most responsible gay app around, and the most advanced and up-to-date,” he says. “Hornet is the gay app that most embraces LGBT needs, feelings and dreams.”