Personal Tech for Women: 5 Things You Need To Know About Siren, a New Dating App for Women

Monday, April 27, 2015


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A couple weeks ago, we highlighted ways in which technologies and apps were excluding women. In response to that actuality, there’s been a recent wave of female-oriented dating apps that attempt to even the playing field – Bumble, Antidate, and Wyldfire among them. Now, there’s Siren. Developed by digital artist Susie Lee and graphic designer Katrina Hess, the Seattle-based Siren lets women make the first move. Lee’s opinion was other dating sites were more akin to online shopping, or even teen magazine crushes. So Siren was conceived as “a sensible, yet radical, antidote to that delusion,” says Lee. Here are 5 things to know about the new mobile-only dating platform that promises positive offline connections.

1. Here’s how it works

Siren allows users to add only one photo: a black-and-white selfie taken in-app with their phones. Then, women share their profile photo only with the men they choose. A man can’t even see a woman’s profile unless she makes it visible to him. She can also save his profile until she gets more clues to his personality, before she makes a Siren connection. When he receives one, he knows she’s truly interested. “It’s the digital analogy to making eye contact and smiling because at that moment, we really want them to see us,” says Susie Lee. “It was clear to me that current dating sites were nowhere near the real life experience of meeting cool people.”

2. The Question of the Day

Connection takes time. Siren’s solution is the Question of the Day, an icebreaker that reveals a little personality. What’s your favorite aisle in the grocery store? Or, what can instantly bring you back to childhood? How you answer reveals more about you, which means your profiles gets built-up over time. The question is aimed to be natural conversation starter between the Siren community, and it doesn’t embrace over-sharing. Even though a male user can’t see a female’s profile pic, he can see the female’s answers. And if his interest is piqued, he can “notify Siren.” The app acts as a third party, alerting the woman that a user liked her answer and is inviting her to drop him a line. It’s a more effective way to reveal personality, rather than standard likes and dislikes. “The Question of the Day gives our community something creative to think about and respond to,” says Lee. “When there’s a Siren connection, it gives people a chance to start a conversation with something better than ‘How's your weekend?’ or the classic ‘I like your picture.’”

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3. Call of the Siren

Literally calling the shots, women can enact the app’s namesake feature, the “Siren” call. It’s an invitation that expires overnight and lets a woman express what she’s up for now – whether it’s a coffee, a hook-up, or an adventure in the city. Siren also welcomes “matchmakers” who can recommend suitable men to women. Ladies can also forward a man’s profile to friends for their input, and “wingwomen” can login without a public profile to help their friends find the right matches.  

4. Socially evolved flirting

The team behind Siren is calling it “socially evolved flirting,” as they feel other dating apps don’t offer their social communities creative ways to distinguish themselves. The online road to finding a good match can be aimless and lacking active participation. And often times a woman is just another pretty face in a sea of pics, even if she’s put a lot of time into her profile. With space for only one photo, Siren works to eliminate objectification while supporting privacy. Maybe she’s got a high profile career and wants to keep the online dating realm separate? On Siren, women control their image. “Real chemistry doesn't come from crushing on a photo,” says Lee. “It might be wit, curiosity, intelligence. Whatever it is, we send signals when we're interested.”

5. Making strangers less strange

Lee affirms that the goal of Siren is to make strangers less strange. “We want to be the best online platform for offline connections,” she says. “Because no matter how revolutionary we consider technology, we still only have 24 hours in each day, so the challenge for the next digital revolution is to help make the kinds of connections that matter to people.” While a balance is being struck between straight men and women on dating sites, Siren is also working on a version for the LBGTQ community.

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Melanie Sevcenko is a journalist for radio, print and online. She reports internationally for BBC World Service and Monocle Radio (M24) in the UK, and for Deutsche Welle in Germany. Melanie also reports for the online news source GoLocalPDX, in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been broadcast by CBC in Canada and the Northwest News Network, and published by Al Jazeera English, Global Post, Pacific Standard, the Toronto Star and USA Today, amongst others.


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