Imagine your deepest, darkest secret. Maybe its emotional, maybe it’s embarrassing. Now, imagine that secret being on display on the Internet anonymously, scribbled on a postcard, or anything else, for that matter. Welcome to the world of Postsecret. As Frank Warren, the creator of the blog juggernaut Postsecret.com, visits DePaul University, a mix of diehard fans and people lured in by curiosity attend. “I’m not sure who Frank Warren is or what his Postsecret project is about, but my friends told me I would find it interesting,” says Alyssa Wieting, a freshman at DePaul.
During the presentation, Warren shares some of his secrets and other postcards he has received and welcomes the audience to share their secrets aloud on microphones. Warren has a warm, personable charisma about him that creates the persona of a troubled, everyman Dr. Phil. He is comical and polite, making jokes during the presentation when heavily emotional secrets are shared and shows a genuine interest in each person who reveals a secret publicly. How does one feel carrying the burden of thousands of secrets? Warren does not know why people trust him with their thoughts; maybe it’s the cathartic release of repressed feelings, the expression of creativity and releasing truth or possibly the simple reason that people want someone to listen. Regardless, the Postsecret sensation—which has led to five books published by Harper Collins—reveals an introspective vulnerability in our society that shows how we are quick to repress painful memories, which essentially hurts us in the end.
As Warren cleverly remarks, “There are two kinds of secrets, those we keep from each other and those we keep from ourselves.” (Debra Lipson)