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What is Cowbird?
Cowbird is a public library of human experience, and a simple tool for telling stories. Over five years, from 2012–2017, Cowbird collected nearly 100,000 stories from nearly 200 countries. On March 1, 2017, Cowbird stopped accepting new contributions, shifting to an historical archive instead. You can read about this decision here.
What is Cowbird’s mission?
Cowbird’s mission is to gather and preserve exceptional stories of human life, so the insight and wisdom we accumulate as individuals can live on in the commons — as a resource for others to look to for guidance. We support the broad empowerment of individuals to voice their honest ideas about life, and we believe they deserve a clean, ad-free, uncluttered environment for sharing their personal experience. By encouraging self-reflection and deeper connection, we hope to foster a feeling of empathy among people all over the world, so we can start to see our species — and indeed our planet — as a single living organism.
What can I use Cowbird to do?
You can use Cowbird to keep a beautiful audiovisual diary of your life. You can tag your stories with various metadata (i.e. dates, locations, topics, and characters), to connect your stories to the stories of others.
How is Cowbird different from social networks?
Social networks try to be timely; Cowbird tries to be timeless. Cowbird is a place for a deeper, longer-lasting kind of self-expression than you’re likely to find anywhere else on the Web. It’s a place to find and tell the kind of stories that will continue to resonate in 100 years.
Why tell stories?
Stories help us be students and teachers of life. They help us untangle experience, and they help us find meaning. Telling a story increases awareness; hearing a story increases compassion. Stories are guidebooks for living and lifeboats for memory: they help us not to forget, and then later, not to be forgotten.
Is Cowbird a dating site?
Cowbird is not designed to be a dating site, but storytelling is a wonderful way to find kindred spirits, and Cowbird has many features (like messaging and dedications) that are designed to make it easy for strangers to connect. Some people think of Cowbird as “the dating site for romantics.”
What does Cowbird cost?
Cowbird is free for anyone to use.
Will you ever have ads?
Our intention is to keep Cowbird ad-free forever.
How do you support Cowbird?
Cowbird is entirely supported by our citizens, who contribute $5 / month to keep the project going. If you love Cowbird, please consider becoming a citizen.
Who owns my content?
You do. In the Cowbird story editor, you can select any Creative Commons license for your stories.
Does Cowbird have editors?
We have a small team of curators who choose the Daily Story each morning, and who help to identify great stories on the site. From time to time, we also invite guest editors to lead special storytelling projects.
What kind of stories can I post?
You’re free to post any kind of story you like, as long as you follow the Cowbird Etiquette.
Can I tell private stories?
Yes — you can save your story as a draft and simply choose never to publish it. You can share a private link to the draft using the story’s “Share” button.
Can I use a pseudonym?
Yes, pseudonyms are fine. Some people find it easier to open up while using a pseudonym.
Can I post stories from my phone?
Yes, although the process is a bit clunky. To tell stories on Cowbird, we recommend using a laptop or desktop computer, or a tablet.
Do you have an App?
No — we think Apps are destined for obsolescence; they’ll be the CD-Roms of tomorrow. We believe in the open Web. That said, you’ll find that Cowbird works well on your smartphone — and is especially lovely on an iPad.
Why no video?
We believe in the power of photos, text, and sound. If you’re interested in video, Vimeo is a great community for that.
What browser should I use?
We recommend Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
Can my organization partner with Cowbird?
We’ve partnered with wonderful organizations like National Geographic, NPR, and Transom. If you’re interested in using Cowbird to do a storytelling project in your community, please email .
Why the name “Cowbird”?
Slow like a cow, fast like a bird.
Why not call it “Birdcow”?
That would be ridiculous.

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