What is The Great Thanksgiving Listen?

In 2015, StoryCorps launched The Great Thanksgiving Listen, a national initiative that transforms the holidays into a time of intergenerational sharing by encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to preserve an oral history of our times. This is done by recording an interview with an elder, mentor, friend, family or someone they admire.

Anyone can be a part of #TheGreatListen by following these five easy steps:

1. Create a StoryCorps Account

If you are recording with someone in the same room, download our App from the App Store and sign up. If you are recording with someone in a different location, create an account for our virtual recording platform at archive.storycorps.org.

2. Interview Planning and Preparation

All you’ll need is a partner, some prep time, and a quiet place. Your partner can be anyone you’d like to get to know better. You can choose your interview questions from question lists provided in StoryCorps Connect, or you can write your own. Arrange a time when both you and your partner will be relaxed and won’t be interrupted.

3. Have a Conversation

If you are using the App to record, follow the prompts in the App. If you are recording remotely, log in at StorycorpsConnect.org. Then, let the conversation flow! Listen closely, and let your chosen questions guide the discussion, not control it. Make sure you ask follow-up questions. You never know what unexpected and wonderful new things you will learn about a person — no matter how well you think you know them.

4. Preserve it for History: Enter Photo, Title, and Keywords

When you’re done with your conversation, click “Stop Recording,” and then, “Save Interview.” Enter a descriptive title, summary of your conversation, keywords, and photo. These will make it easier for you and others to find your interview in the future.

5. Share Your Story

Select the privacy settings that feel right to you. Share your interview with the world, or save it for friends and family. It’s your choice!

Since the start of this initiative, thousands of people from across the United States have participated in #TheGreatListen. With permission, interviews become part of the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Preserve your own unique oral history with a loved one and make the holidays a time of intergenerational sharing.

Want to learn more about how you can make the most out of your StoryCorps conversations? Sign up for our StoryCorps in the Classroom mailing list for tips, tricks, and resources to bring #TheGreatListen to your dinner table or classroom.