Archive for the ‘museums’ Tag

PostSecret

VitalsPostSecret

URL: http://www.postsecret.com
Affiliations n/a
Launched: January 2004
Author(s): Various and anonymous, and run by Frank Warren
Google Links: 28,000
Technorati Rating: 1,460 /1362nd most popular blog
Run On: BlogSpot.com

Coolest dreamsWhat started as an art project four years ago, when Frank Warren distributed 3,000 blank postcards in his neighborhood, asking recipients to write their secrets on the back and mail it back to him, has turned into an internet phenomenon, PostSecret. Every week, he gets thousands of postcards, covered in secrets, mailed to him. Every Sunday, he posts ten on the PostSecret blog without editorial comment. This model was successful enough to garner Frank Warren international press coverage and links from other blogs.

Wikipedia, ever current on online phenomena long before they hit mainstream press, offers a timeline for PostSecret’s growth and Franks’s experimentation with the blogging format. In June 2007, he enabled comments, but within two weeks, had disabled the feature. However, what Frank did begin to do was post emailed responses he had gotten to some of the postcards, some expressing support and empathy, and others that were vaguely threatening. One example is an email that was posted, indicating that someone out there knew the sender of a postcard that exposed a years-long affair. The stakes are as high as the submitters choose to make them.

Yellow TapeWhy PostSecret is so popular has much to do with how Frank uses the blog. He distances himself from the content of the postcards, acting as a medium for transmission of secrets than an arbiter of right and wrong. The lack of interactivity between the visitor and the site creates a space for contemplation, making the visitor a viewer and voyeur, to read postcards free from distraction. There are also no archives that one can access, but this hasn’t prevented postcards from disseminating over hundreds of websites and blogs.

Frank’s motives are outlined in a short video clip on his page, but in essence, he does it to offer relief to those who may not be brave enough to confront their own fears. However, these good and noble intentions didn’t prevent PostSecret from being taken offline in September 2007 when BlogSpot mistakenly categorized the blog as a spam blog, or splog. It was quickly reinstated.

In the words of one poignant postcard, “I have no secrets left to write. I’ve read them all here.” PostSecret is wildly popular, spawning several books, because we have the ability to empathize and we treasure the thought that the unadulterated truth can be found in cyberspace.

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