Heard has announced that Jon Besant has joined its senior team as director of events.

The appointment will spearhead expansion into Dubai, Marbella and Ibiza this summer, followed by other cities later in the year.

Jon has over 25 years’experience as a DJ, promoter and radio presenter, having played for some of the biggest names in music, including Defected Records and The Hacienda. As an event organiser and promoter with bases in Dubai and Marbella, Jon creates and runs events for tens of thousands of people every year.

“I’m really excited to join the Heard team and help it grow,” said Jon. “It’s an amazing app, and it’s great to see a social network focused on bringing people together and making new connections. As a promoter, it’s a fantastic way to reach people and engage with my audiences, and as a user, it’s great to make sure I never miss out on what’s going on around me, no matter where in the world I am."

Founder Paul Austin said: "Social media isn't in the best of places at the moment, with issues such as privacy, loneliness and mental health rightly at the forefront of peoples concerns, so it might not seem like the ideal time to launch a new social platform. But Heard was created because of those concerns.

"It's about making new connections and seeing what’s going on around you from the people that are there with you. We also believe that using social media doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your privacy. We don't track what our users post, and we will never sell their data to third parties - ever."

The last 12 months have seen Heard used at some impressive events and show exactly how it can be used to bring people together whatever the occasion. Working with The Charlatans on their multi-venue North by Northwich Festival, Heard was able to keep everyone informed and up-to-date with what was going on and even managed to reunite a few long lost gig-goers from past Charlatans gigs. Partnerships with events such as Foodie Friday bring thousands of people together every month.

Heard has got ambitious growth plans for the next few years, and aims to challenge the established platforms by doing things differently from the start. As well as offering new ways to bring people together, Heard wants to make the way we connect and share feel natural. Messages on Heard disappear after a few days.

"Not everything you do needs to exist online forever for people to dissect and analyse years later. Talk, Make plans, and move on. Just like real life."

Jon's appointment will also mark the start of a series of invite-only club nights in Manchester and Dubai, working with internationally recognised brands and DJs. Launching later in the Summer, Heard will also showcase up-and-coming bands and artists in intimate venues across Manchester and the North West.

"We know these nights are going to be amazing, and the only way to get your invite is through Heard so get downloading!" said Jon.

An equity crowdfunding campaign will follow later in the year, which will see Heard expand its core development team and open new offices in Manchester. Details of upcoming events and how to download the app can be found at https://heardnetwork.com/