Just when I was bored of all websites that encourage more and more likes, more sharing, more shout outs, more commenting and lets not even talk about advertising, it was refreshing to spend distraction-free time on Cowbird.
Its a not-so-addictive website where people share stories with a community that actually appreciates it. It's the simplicity and authenticity of Cowbird that turned me into a loyal visitor.
Cowbird, simply put, is a community of storytellers with real stories...not just updates. It's about personal experiences that play an important role in a person's life, these experiences are shared through words, sounds and images.
I decided to write a short note to founder of Cowbird, Jonathan Harris, and was pleasantly surprised to see his humble response within an hour of sending the email. His dedication towards his company is not only evident but also inspiring.
Here's what he had to say about his latest creation:
"We take a slow and measured approach to everything. Prospective authors can request an invitation by telling us a little bit about who they are and what kind of stories they would like to tell. We personally contact each new author to welcome them into our community. Telling stories on Cowbird asks a little more of you than dashing off tweets from a cell phone, but we think it gives back a lot more, too. It's soul food, not fast food."He instantly send me an invitation and from then on I've been hooked on to reading heart-warming stories from people all over the world. Happy experiences, sad endings, beautiful love stories, exciting adventures, human emotions, secrets, humanity, hatred, hope, failure, success, travels, epiphanies, encounters, first times, last times and everything that is genuinely human.
Although there are so many things about its design, navigation, typography, infographics and intelligent interface that I want to share with you. But before all this, there is one thing that I think is the essence of Cowbird: etiquette. They just want four things from you: decency, humbleness, legality and authenticity.
"Like a traveler in a foreign land, please be gracious, respectful, and courteous to those you meet along the way.
"Cowbird is a space for self-reflection, not self-promotion"
"Cowbird is a place for sharing your personal experience of life, not for sharing links to stuff you like."
Here are some notable features in Cowbird that I would like to share with you:
Storytelling: When you tell a story, you will notice that their editor is incredibly simple so that you can concentrate on what you want to write or say. You can add photos, subtitles, tags, dates, locations, dedications, and also add characters. You can create characters of your partner, friends, family and other important people in your life.
Connections: Its intelligent interface automatically connects you with other people who share some kind of similarities with you, on the basis of your stories.
Love, Share & Connect: When it comes to socializing within Cowbird, there are three things that you can do, you can either 'Love' a story, 'Share' a story or join an author's audience. Do note, that you will not find numbers out there, as to how many likes or how many shares. It doesn't matter how popular a story is, it's how you connect with a story or a person.
Sagas: One aspect of Cowbird is connecting with people who go through similar experiences, for which they've created a segment called Sagas. Their first 'Saga' was all about Occupy movement, which consisted of hundred of stories of regular people caught in the action. Their recent Saga was launched on Valentine's day where people shared stories of their First Loves.
Copyright: When a website makes sure that they cover everything to do with copyright issues, it clearly reflects its credibility. According to Cowbird, everybody has a different take towards copyright, therefore they allow you to choose the license that suits you the most. You can choose your story to be fully copyrighted, non-commercial, non-derivative or free of any copyright.
Apart from these features, there is a lot more to Cowbird, but I highly recommend that you experience it yourself.
I would like to add a special note for Jonathan Harris who has done a splendid job with Cowbird. It is entrepreneurs like him who bring a refreshing change into the digital world, it is encouraging to find people like him who strive to instill human emotions in the technological world. It is people like him who will make sure that the virtual world does not lose touch with reality and humanity.