Frank Warren: PostSecret

Four years ago, Frank Warren walked the streets of DC at night, handing out self-addressed postcards to strangers, soliciting their secrets. Watch as the creator of the wildly popular blog PostSecret reveals some of the hundreds of thousands of secrets shared by people from around the world in those four years…including a few of his own. SEE VIDEO

photo by Kris Klug | text by Michelle Riggen-Ransom from the Pop!Tech blog

Someone warned me that Frank Warren is the last person you want to tell a secret to. Why? Because Warren runs a web site called PostSecret, where every day he posts hundreds of other peoples' secrets.

But it's actually not Warren who is telling the secrets; it's the secret-holders themselves. Readers of the site, of which there are many, are invited to send in postcards confessing their crushes, deviances, bad behaviors and sins. The results run the gamut from funny and sweet to deeply disturbing.

A sample from the site today:

  • I told my parents I was bullied so I wouldn't have to go to school.
  • After 29 years of marriage, my wife finally loves me.
  • My algebra teacher taught me to divide more than numbers.

Warren got his start four years ago by handing out self-addressed stamped postcards to complete strangers. "Hi," he'd say cheerfully as he passed them out, "I'm Frank and I collect secrets." He was surprised that even when the postcards ran out, the secrets kept pouring in from all around the country.

The postcards themselves are often works of art in miniature. Many people sending in their secrets take great pains to draw, paint, cut and collage pictures that help illustrate their words.

What drives people to tell complete strangers their deepest and darkest? It seems to be equal parts confession and community. If you share your inner secrets, you release them into the world. Warren says that that connection with strangers is at once freeing and transformative.

Frank Warren recently ventured into a private room here at Pop!Tech to video his personal postcard to the next President of the United States. But guess what? He's not the only one who shares secrets.