Stories, Not Stuff!

My friend, Kelly posted this awesome reminder and link to a site I had not heard of before (except when she was traveling recently.)

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I love NPR’s Storycorps and This American Life, so I was intrigued to check out Cowbird. Cowbird’s mission is to build the world’s simplest and most beautiful storytelling tools, and offer them for free to anyone who wishes to use them. Their goal is to build “a public library of human experience, so the knowledge and wisdom we accumulate as individuals may live on as part of the commons, available for this and future generations to look to for guidance.” Wow. How cool is that?

The stories are brief and most are accompanied by a photo. Some have audio or are linked to longer audio segments. There is a fairly complex lexicon and iconography on the site for linking stories or you can move around at random. I listened to some poignant ones. There are some that are lengthy and deal with love, loss and longing (and every other topic you can think of.)

I especially liked and could relate to this simple one:
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Cowbird does special projects with other partners, too. Check out Sandy Story Line – “a participatory documentary about Hurricane Sandy and efforts to rebuild our neighborhoods. Sandy Storyline is “a collaboration of Housing is a Human Right and the MIT Center for Civic Media, in partnership with Cowbird,, Occupied Stories and a growing number of media makers, storytellers and people like you.” You will be moved.

Cowbird strives to be the “most human” site on the internet and I think they are on to something. I especially like the photo and audio diaries. My husband’s family recorded tapes and videos of his great grandmother and grandparents and they are truly amazing. Cowbird is a new way to record and share learnings and experiences from all generations.

This holiday season share stories and make new memories to share in the future. Give stories, not stuff… a novel idea and I love it! What do you think?

PS. I also read about photographer, Theron Humphrey and his project, This Wild Idea in National Geographic Traveler this month. He was a “Traveler of the Year” as he went to all 50 states and took photos and recorded oral histories of people he met along the way. It is very cool! Check it out.



  1. Amy S says:

    I love this!! Great post

  2. susannah says:

    Such an awesome idea! You know I’m a fan because I love stories!

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