Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • The new research suggests that cell phones may serve as a reminder of the wider
    network to which we could connect, inhibiting our ability to connect with the people
    right next to us. Cell phone usage may even reduce our social consciousness.


    Have you ever had that thing where someone says something to you. then you
    say something back to them, then they say something, and so on? You probably
    just had a conversation and didn’t even realize it!

    Paul Simms, in THE NEW YORKER

    I would like to talk with you
    about how it is with you in your life right now.
    Notice that I say WITH you and not TO you.
    WITH implies sharing, reciprocity, listening.

    I would like us to be in a space
    of pure, undivided attention, caring, immersed,
    without needing to be right, or one up,
    not treating conversation as a game to win.

    People used to talk with each other more,
    sitting out on their front porches, at twilight,
    walking in the woods, or on the beach.
    It used to be about connecting, soul to soul.

    Remember those evenings? I remember how,
    in the South, when the summer light lingered,
    the way we would laugh, tell stories, share memories,
    I remember how we would be real with each other.

    And on those porches, in the woods, at the beach,
    or maybe sitting around campfires by a river,
    we would tap into something genuine, we would
    feel authentic, intimate. We spoke from the heart.

    Harder now, to have a conversation, a real one.
    Perhaps the TV is on in the room, or somewhere,
    blaring forth its urgent commercials, and the shouting,
    talking heads, insulting each other, screaming.

    Who can think real thoughts, let alone converse
    in the midst of the cacophony that is modern life?
    And who are these plastic TV people anyway,
    pretty little parrots for the party line? Squawk! Squawk!

    How often have you sat in a restaurant, with friends,
    so many opportunities to share real ideas,
    and everyone is jumping on and off their cell phones,
    texting, surfing the web, checking weather?

    Are all our smart technologies actually building walls?
    Is our instant access to everything simply too much,
    keeping us distracted, pushing us away from each other?
    Can we just, from time to time, turn this damn stuff off?

    You see, I believe you are a treasury of ideas, experience,
    and beauty. I want to know about who you really are.
    I would like to have a real conversation with you.
    Is this asking too much? Is this something we could try?

    (Photograph by Alex in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.