Shhh ... A PostSecret Special
By Christina, age 16, Louisiana
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
"Well, I've never been a blog obsessed person or anything like that," confesses one of PostSecret's many teenage fans, "But my friend read me PostSecret, and I was like ... I like it." - Lauren, 16
PostSecret, as defined in Wikipedia, is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. Perhaps you've even written one yourself, or maybe you're just a fan. Either way, PostSecret has made an impact on thousands of people all over the world.
Frank Warren created the experimental blogspot in January of 2005, but it started originally in 2004 as an art installation for Artomatic. Artomatic, a five-week multi-art event, had been held for several years before Warren's idea, but has only been held once since. It's not known whether this has anything to do with PostSecret or not, but chances are it doesn't. (Just one of those odd coincidences, I guess.)
The idea behind PostSecret is simple: anonymous people submit postcards, either created using their imagination or bought from a nearby store, each submission containing one completely secret confession. The rules are even easier: the secret can't have been told to anyone before and the postcard has to be 4" by 6" in size. Other than that, there aren't really any limits to what you can submit. Of course, they only want one secret per card, and only on one side of the postcard, but otherwise you can pretty much exercise the first amendment to any degree you prefer.
"I think it's great," says a close friend of mine, "I love reading others' secrets. Makes me feel different about people. No one is what they seem." - Melissa, 16
While this is very true, there have also been many accounts where PostSecret has literally saved someone's life. When you see that you aren't alone, it ameliorates the situation, making you more relaxed knowing that other people have problems too. It also goes to show that you don't need Aleve to get rid of the burning in the pit of your stomach. Sometimes a simple confession is all it takes.
PostSecret has gained much media attention, from Washington, D.C.'s City Paper to music videos. In 2005, secrets were selected and blown up poster size, forming a background in All-American Reject's "Dirty Little Secret".
In Weblog Awards, PostSecret has received five Bloggies in the year 2006 alone: Best American Weblog, Best Topical Weblog, Best Community Weblog, Best New Weblog, and Weblog of the Year. Even students in several schools have begun their own PostSecret walls, putting anonymous secrets on pieces of paper for the whole school to see.
Four books have been published by Harper Collins/Regan Books concerning PostSecret, in which selected postcards are shown, some from the weekly blog and some not. You can buy all four books on Amazon. The link can be found on PostSecret's website.
While I personally enjoy the website, and I look forward to their update each week, I find it hard to force myself to send in my own card. It's not that I don't have any secrets - after all, secrets are something we all harbor - but I believe that looking from the sidelines is good for now. Many a week I see a few which could have come from me, and often I save them for later viewing. I also save a few I just like. All pictures featured in this article come from the ones I've chosen, and I hope that, if by chance you have never heard of PostSecret, you find it as enjoyable as I do.
There has been abundant praise for PostSecret:
"PostSecret is an awesome way to express yourself and give other people support. It just goes to show us how alike we all really are. Some secrets make me feel empathetic for the secret's owner, while others just make me laugh out loud ... I check every Sunday when new PostSecrets are published. I'm a PostSecret junkie." - Allison, 13
"It helps you kinda overcome stuff, or let you know that other people have problems just like you. And a lot are really sad, so it makes you kind of appreciative of what you do have." - Lauren, 16
"I started reading PostSecret when I was about 15. It was during a time I really needed to know I wasn't alone. It showed me that people out there think the same horrible thoughts as myself! It let me know that I'm not as crazy and homicidal as I think." - Amber, 19
"I think that it is an awesome way for people to tell what's wrong with them anonymously, so that they can get it out without people criticizing them about it. It's a very smart idea, and the maker should earn a prize." - Heather, 16, after visiting PostSecret for the first time.
"I like the PostSecret thing. It's pretty interesting to read it all and kind of imagine what that person is going through." - Joey, 16, after visiting PostSecret for the first time.
"I think PostSecret is a very creative idea, and I wish I'd thought of it first, haha!" - Stephanie, 22, owner of Sweet Designs.
Photos used in this article are the property of PostSecret.