Best of Cowbird Marks Changes to Storytelling Platform

Cowbird, Jonathan Harris’s storytelling platform, which I have mentioned a couple of times but perhaps not given enough attention to, is undergoing changes, Harris announced yesterday.

One of the nicest things Harris provided in an email to users was a link to what he called The Best of Cowbird — the Cowbird folks’ 25 favorite stories from Cowbird’s first year — “instant classics, all,” Harris said.

Today, it’s my great pleasure to introduce you to the new Cowbird — simpler, faster, more minimal, more essential, and, we think, even more beautiful. The storytelling format hasn’t changed — it’s still based on short, simple vignettes, told with images, text, and sound. But we’ve pared down the experience to make it all about stories — and how those stories connect to other stories.

Also, we’re introducing some exciting new features. DNA search allows you to find stories matching very specific constraints — like stories that mention love involving women in their 30s. Collections allow you to assemble stories into handpicked groups — like editing your own little mix-tapes or magazines. But what we’re most excited about is handwriting — a simple way for you to turn your own handwriting into a font, and use it in your stories.

With these changes, we’re also introducing Cowbird Citizenship, a way for devoted members of Cowbird to support our project for $5 a month, to help us keep Cowbird ad-free and independent. The core Cowbird experience will continue to be free for anyone who wishes to use it.