Some of you are familiar with PostSecret. For those who aren't, it's a site that displays homemade post cards that tell secrets. People make cards with illustrations of their choice and write their secrets on them, and send them to Frank Warren, who runs the PostSecret blog. It started as a community art project, but has grown into something of an institution.
PostSecret doesn't accept advertising; that would dilute the content. It's almost pure content, and Warren treats the secrets with respect--which is one reason he's received tens of thousands of them. The secrets that Warren receives cover just about the total range of human experience. Most are works of art in miniature—many rough, some collages. A few are photographs “I quit karate because of a panic attack,” one person confesses. We assume the writer is a woman because the words are written across a photo of a woman in a karate gi, her face obscured. Another submitter assures the world, “I no longer look out for high places to hang myself from when I walk down the street.” An image of a Norman Rockwell painting is labeled, “My prom date was gay. I pretended not to know.” Mysteriously, an early photo of the Beatles is captioned, “I sometimes still wish I had had an abortion.” Pick a card, any card: It could be heartbreaking, terrifying, disgusting, inspirational, or hilarious. Or it might be lustful or incomprehensible. Each one tells a story—or stories. Each one could inspire dozens of new stories, fictional or real.
I interviewed Frank Warren for my upcoming book, Blogging Heroes, and I'm sure you'll find his story fascinating. In the chapter about PostSecret I note that he calls himself "an accidental artist." This is probably the best description of what Frank Warren is doing with PostSecret, week in and week out. Have a look at the PostSecret blog for yourself. There are 20 new secrets posted every Sunday.
Copyright © 2007, Michael A. Banks