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Meet Stitch: The Tinder-esque Dating App For an Older Generation

New Yorker
For as long as they have existed, dating apps have been monopolised by the use of the young. However, tech wizards are increasingly tapping into the audience of pensioners and baby-boomers, a market which is yet to see much penetration.

Stitch, the app that distinguishes itself by enabling the search for companionship as opposed to hook-ups or even romance, is paving the way for developers to take an interest in the senior market as their adoption and understanding of interactive technology grows.

Not only this, but the industry is taking a sentimental outlook by choosing to include the elderly in the ever-increasing technological world. As Stitch's co-founder Marcie Rogo puts it: “I look at the boomers, and I’m like, ‘God, there’s so many ways I could help these people. No one’s doing it. I’m going to do it".

So why now? I hear you ask with feverish anticipation. Well, the statistics show that based on sheer volume alone, there are 76 million Americans of aged over 50. That is a huge market to brazenly ignore if you ask me. Plus, as these over-50s reach retirement, they have more free time and spending power to put towards social media - the demographics certainly prove that. The proportion of those 65 and older who are active online rose from 14 per cent in 2000 to 59 per cent in 2013, according to the Pew Research Centre. Not only this, but there is massive monetary incentive  - as reported by the IB Times, in the US alone $3.2 trillion is spent on goods and services by the older demographic. If you compare this to the younger generation, who are accustomed to free and ad-supported services, there is huge potential.

That being said, catering to an older generation is a completely different ball game. Research finds that older tech users require more clarity and explanation to their younger counterparts. This may include exclusion of complex design elements or the implementation of walk-throughs in order to demonstrate the features of an app or website. Companies such as Snapchat, for example, can probably expect new users to get the gist of things pretty quickly.

Whilst the Stitch app is drawing comparisons to Tinder due to the 'match' system whereby users can only communicate if they both agree to like one another, co-founder Dowling is quick to negate the comparison. He had the following to say to VICE:

"We’ve been described as “Tinder for old people” but that’s actually a bit misleading. The one thing we do take from Tinder is the idea of no unsolicited contact. Our users will only be able to be contacted by someone if it’s someone they’ve already liked. Apart from that a lot of the things we do are very focused on the specific needs of older users, which means we’re quite different from Tinder. Everything: from how we verify user identities to their preference for phone calls over chat."

The importance of phone calls rather than digital channels is also imperative to the management of queries and complaints, with Silicon Valley having all but abolished the use of them. Older generations are used to communicating with real people in real time as opposed to trusting the internet for solutions.

If this app does indeed succeed in bring more love and friendship to the world, especially for those who may need it most, then we at Social Songbird are all for it.

SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF

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Meet Stitch: The Tinder-esque Dating App For an Older Generation Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, October 12, 2015 Rating: 5

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