New bird on the block

Cowbird, a new type of social media network, aims to become a public library of human experience.

Say hello to Cowbird, or rather on Cowbird. It’s almost like Facebook, or Twitter. But it goes much deeper. In fact, it hopes it become the ultimate public library of human experience.

Cowbird is the initiative of online innovator Jonathan Harris in what he calls a “labour of love” that has been some three years in the making. Like other forms of social media, Cowbird is a community, but it’s a community of storytellers that aims to tell more focused, deeper, more personal and longer-lasting stories about the experiences and sagas of our time.

Storytellers (users) are invited to keep an audio-visual diary of their life on Cowbird and collaborate with other storytellers in documenting the big events, such as Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, happening in the world today.

With Cowbird, Harris wants to pioneer a new form of participatory journalism, one that finds the human face in major world issues in a way that the formal news media cannot, and that the brevity of existing social media networks don’t allow for.

The long-term goal with Cowbird is to build a public library of (real) 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”.