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What is Stitch, exactly?

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“What is Stitch, exactly?”

The question above is something I get asked quite a lot. That may not seem all that surprising – it’s quite reasonable for someone who hasn’t heard about Stitch before to ask what it is.

What IS surprising is that I’m quite frequently asked the question by someone who has recently joined Stitch. They might have been a member for a few weeks, and it’s only just starting to dawn on them that Stitch is much broader than their initial expectations. Broader, and richer too. But at the same time more difficult to pin down and categorize.

  • Is Stitch a dating site?
  • Is it a social network?
  • Is it something online or in the real world?
  • Is it for singles only, or is it for everyone?

So I thought I’d write this article to help explain what Stitch is, what it’s not, and why we think that something like Stitch is desperately needed by so many people.

Let’s start with what Stitch isn’t.

Stitch is not a “Dating Site”

If you know anything about Stitch, you know the number one reason we exist is to help people over 50 find the companionship they need.

And for a large number of our members, this means finding a romantic companion.

That’s why one of the major features of Stitch is the ability to browse profiles of other members and get matched based on your companionship settings. And it means that our members go on plenty of dates.

Yes, I know at first glance that sounds exactly what a lot of dating sites do.

But that doesn’t mean we’re a “Dating Site”.

Any company which adopts the title “Dating Site” is making it clear that the process of “Dating” – and all the challenges and emotional baggage that comes with it – is the essence of the experience, both in terms of how it works and what its users’ goals are. And that includes the many sites which are good for nothing more than a one-night-stand.

That’s not Stitch.

For a start, our Profile browsing feature caters to all types of companionship, from friendship right through to romance. Very importantly, that means catering to people who are somewhere in the middle of that spectrum themselves … not necessarily ready to launch into a full-blooded romantic relationship, but open to the idea of finding one if they start with companionship first and let things grow from there.

What is Stitch - Companionship settings

But more fundamentally, the entire Stitch philosophy is different from anything found on any typical “Dating Site”.

The online dating industry has been around for close to 20 years, and in that time has got very good at creating an experience designed to get the most money out of its customers as quickly as possible, before they get dissatisfied and decide to leave. To do so, dating sites play all sorts of games with their customers, including showing fake profiles, creating accounts without permission, and making it very difficult to cancel your account once you have joined.

(Those aren’t idle claims by the way – just read this article, or this one, to get a glimpse of what the dating industry is like!)

That’s not Stitch.

With Stitch we’re trying to build something that our members want to stay a part of even after they’ve found the companionship they’re looking for. We want Stitchers to stay proud members of the community for many years. We know that companionship comes in many varieties, and is something that we never cease needing as we age.

So no, while Stitch may be a site for dating, it definitely isn’t just a “Dating Site”.

Stitch Isn’t a Social Network

Stitch is clearly social. And a part of Stitch is definitely “online”. So why isn’t it a social network?

In today’s internet world, the term “social network” is applied to sites which map out people’s existing real-world connections.

Facebook, for example, maps who you are connected to socially.

LinkedIn maps who you are connected to professionally.

Investors like these businesses because they offer an opportunity to use the information they can learn from “the network” – what you say to your friends on Facebook, what posts you like, what brands you follow – to make money. By mapping the billions of connections between people and mining that information for all it’s worth, they can turn your time and attention into huge amounts of revenue, whether you like it or not.

That’s not Stitch, either.

Stitch doesn’t know anything about our members’ real-world connections. We can’t map who your friends are, because we don’t know who they are. You don’t come to Stitch to tell us about your existing connections; you come to Stitch to make new ones.

So no, Stitch isn’t a social network.

So what is Stitch?

Stitch is a Community

This is so important that I’m going to say it again: Stitch is a COMMUNITY.

The idea of a community probably seems like an old-fashioned idea these days, in a world that seems increasingly fragmented, individualistic and selfish. But that’s precisely why we think the very concept is more important now than it ever has been.

I said earlier that Stitch is driven by the mission of helping people over 50 find the companionship they need.

While that’s true, it’s only part of the story. “Finding companionship” just describes the destination, not the journey. There are many paths to any destination; with Stitch the journey takes most of our members through the Stitch community.

What does that mean?

It means that Stitch is something that our members join, rather than a service that they use. This may sound like a marketing slogan, but it accurately describes the enormous difference between what Stitch is and pretty much any online service I can think of.

You don’t USE Stitch. You JOIN.

What is Stitch - Stitch Community

I am an extreme optimist, and like most optimists I am a big believer in the potential most people have to do good. The way that most people, if you give them the right opportunity, enjoy doing things that make the world a better place.

That’s the thinking at the heart of the Stitch community.

The best parts of Stitch come from the amazing contributions of our members, many of whom take great delight in the idea of improving the lives of others and volunteer their own time to do so.

That’s why the community component of Stitch is so broad, in order to give members a wide range of ways to connect with other people around shared interests and natural interaction, in addition to just browsing profiles.

That includes the amazing number of events and activities that members are constantly organizing around the world, all designed to help create social connections for their fellow members.

Or the many travel experiences that our members organize (did you know about the recent Stitch trip to Las Vegas?) as a way to meet & experience new things without having to do so alone.

Or the way our members use the chat rooms & discussion forums to encourage and help their fellow members where they need it, whether that’s sharing their experiences of getting over losing a loved one, or advice on how to manage the often lonely journey to find companionship.

Stitch is far from perfect, and we’ve got a long way to go until it truly becomes what we believe it can be. But it’s the ongoing input and encouragement from our members that helps us keep working to get there.

 

Our terrific Community Champion Vivien summed up the Stitch community spirit recently in a comment about a New Members evening she has organised for members in Sydney. Some of the new members were joking about being nervous about being “newbies” and standing in a corner without anyone to talk to.

Vivien simply responded with this:

There will be no one on their own or feeling left out. Stitch is a community where we all welcome and care for each other. That’s the difference! Stitch is what we make it and a good evening amongst new friends is guaranteed. I hope you will have such a good time you will want to make this a regular event!

I couldn’t put it better myself.

Between the members of the Stitch product team and our growing group of volunteers and champions like Vivien, we think we’ve created something really special. A place where everyone is welcomed, where most people go out of their way to be kind and compassionate, and help others.

To me, that sounds very much like a community.

It’s a community filled with people who are all looking for some form of companionship, whether that’s romance, friendship, or something in between.

And because it’s built on real interactions between real people, in an environment where positive behaviors are celebrated and everybody is treated like a human being rather than just an online profile, we think we’re giving them the best possible chance to find it.

Why don’t you join us and find out for yourself?

 

27 Comments

  1. mandy

    Where are u based what areas plse

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Hi Mandy, We’re a global company but our largest areas are in the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada. Hope you can check it out!
      Marcie

    2. Ann

      Austin, Texas?

    3. Ann

      Austin , Texas?

  2. Anand

    How is your presence in India ?

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Hi Anand, we have a handful of people in India but it only takes a few to start the community so I hope you’ll give it a go!

  3. Vicki Laveau-Harvie

    What a great article, Andrew! Stitch is unique because it is a community, and this is what members value so highly..
    I attended the New Members Meet and Mingle in Sydney last night, and it was a terrific example of the spirit of Stitch: a friendly, inclusive atmosphere, happy people making new friends and sharing a community.
    Stitch is making a very positive difference in the lives of many people. And everyone is having a wonderful time! Bravo!

  4. e

    Sounds wonderful, will join on 9/3 when I get paid. Feel free to remind me!

  5. Vivien Dunstan

    Well done Andrew! You have described Stitch so well. I have been trying to do so at New Member events but you have wrapped it up into one easily understood package. I believe I get more from Stitch than what I put into it. I have gained many kind, supportive friends and I attend wonderful activities that I would never have done on my own.

    Stitch has given me a new horizon on life as now I believe I can do anything and take my Stitch friends along for the ride.

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Thank you Vivien for this kind and wonderful post! You are a very special person and we feel so lucky that you stumbled across Stitch!

  6. Patricia

    Maybe I should try this site.

    1. Patricia

      How much does it cost. Does this cover Inland Empire (Riverside).

      1. Marcie Rogo

        Hi Patricia, we would love to have you! You can see our pricing on http://www.stitch.net/pricing. The cost varies based on what parts you want to access: profiles, community, or both.

  7. Andrew Dowling

    asfdafd

    1. Chris hartley

      Hi Andrew just one thing I would like to send messages on the dateing site have spoke to les last Saturday he said he would sort it out my be he as for got
      any I would like to get in touch with peaple in England as I am going at the end of May hope you can help all the best
      Chris

      1. Andrew Dowling

        Hi Chris,

        Send us an email to our support team and we’ll be able to help you out. All our contact details can be found at http://www.stitch.net/contact

        Thanks,
        Andrew.

  8. ralph

    still cynical am I – twice burned (by dating sites), thrice shy – you are first and foremost a business, thus looking to maximize shareholder value – it’s great that you are providing jobs and helping people, but I expect that you will likely sooner or later sell the company to one of the conglomerates that own almost all dating sites – or are you prepared to “promise” that you wont or at least wont for the nxt, oh say, 5 years?

    1. Andrew Dowling

      What a great thought-provoking comment Ralph! I actually see you’re a member of Stitch so if you want to send me a direct message via the system I’d be happy to chat to you about this as there are lots of things to say on this question … but for the purposes of this blog article I can give you a quick answer — which is that while there are very few guarantees in life (we certainly don’t ask our members to commit to being members for 5 years, for example!), planning to sell to one of the two major dating conglomerates is well and truly not part of our business plan. My masters thesis was on social enterprise, the idea of combining a sustainable business model with addressing some form of social issue, so the social mission of Stitch is fundamental to what we do, and makes us not a very good fit for those businesses (or them for us). We’re not like “classic” Silicon Valley startups whose goal is to sell to the highest bidder — our aim is to build a business that makes a difference to people’s lives. We do of course need revenues to make us sustainable, but so does any social venture … even non-profit community businesses need to be sustainable.

      Now you don’t need to believe any of that (and as a cynic I wouldn’t expect you to) but if you shoot me a message via Stitch I’d be happy to give you even more background info which will help you understand why all of this really is so important to not just me personally, but everyone who is involved in Stitch.

      Cheers,
      Andrew.

      Of course, you don’t need to be convinced by anything I say (and as a cynic I wouldn’t expect you to), but as we speak we’re actually working on changes to our company constitution which would allow us to turn Stitch into a

  9. Debbie

    Lovely idea, the whole concept. I’m interested though, that you refer throughout your material to “people” and limit your gender references. It really sounds like you are talking about everyone, but I cannot see anything but heterosexual relationships as examples. Exclusively heterosexual? If so Sad and old in this century.

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Hi Debbie, not at all! Sorry for the misunderstanding. We are not exclusively heterosexual. On Stitch can you can choose your gender and then select any gender, or as many, as you would like to connect to from a romantic or non-romantic perspective. While yes, those examples are heterosexual, it’s merely a coincidence. We welcome everyone on Stitch and will include more diverse examples as soon as we come across them.

  10. Suzie Q

    Hi,

    The impression I got from Andrew’s above response is that “stitch”is his “project” for his masters thesis. Does that mean, the end is near?? The concept is wonderful, though when it comes to making monthly payments for the “basic” membership……talking about Community building, friendship, etc…..its as good as paying into a dating site!!
    Maybe I am wrong…..

  11. Andrew Dowling

    Hi Suzie,

    No, you’ve actually read that a bit wrong — I did my masters many years ago, I was just raising it to indicate why I’ve got such a passion for creating something that helps improve our members’ lives. All social enterprises have to make money somehow, but the driving goal is sustainability, not profit, which is quite different from what you’ll see on a dating site. The best indicator of why we’re different are our Community Champions, many of whom stay part of Stitch even after they’ve found the companionship they’re looking for.

    I hope you give Stitch a try so you can meet some of our champions for yourself so you see what we’re all about!

    Andrew.

  12. Judy

    A good way to meet new friends.

  13. Judy

    This is a great way to meet new friends

  14. sotr

    First time having heard of or read about your community website.

    I have to point out to you that from what you have said about ‘dating sites’ who are full of
    ‘tricks’ to get people to join/make it hard for them to leave etc. I point out that on this
    blog, someone has asked about cost/price for membership. A link was then given for
    your pricelist, however that then takes you to a page where you HAVE TO sign up just
    to see that pricelist!

    May I suggest to you that to make your website more transparent to ALL viewers, potential members, you show your price structure before people decide to sign up.

    I feel sure there would be many people who initially want to know exactly how much
    your membership fees are before deciding to sign up.

    Otherwise, from what I have read here, this seems like a good idea and I wish you well
    with it.

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Hi Sotr,

      That’s a good point, the place where you can find out pricing without signing up is on our FAQ page. The reason we direct people to the page inside the site is that there are different membership prices in different countries and our pricing page is able to give you the right price once you’ve entered your location when signing up, while our public page can’t currently do that — but the indicative prices are shown on the FAQ page so you don’t need to sign up to find out membership fees.

      Thanks,
      Andrew.

  15. Marie

    Are you in Boise, Meridian, or Star Idaho?

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