PostSecret

PostSecret

Updated Feb 27, 2014 at 03:41PM EST by Brad.

Added May 09, 2012 at 04:48PM EDT by amanda b..

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About

PostSecret is a community art project curated by Frank Warren. On its website, people are encouraged to put their secrets on a post card and mail them to Warren, who posts ten cards of his choice to the site every Sunday.

History

Frank Warren, a former small business owner from Germantown, Maryland, registered the domain name PostSecret.com[1] on October 6th, 2004. Over the next month, Warren left 3,000 postcards at local restaurants, bookstores, theaters and train stations[6] instructing people to contribute to his group art project by leaving a secret they had never told anyone on the blank side of the card. That November, Warren set up an exhibit of the 150 cards he had received at Artomatic[5], a local multimedia arts exhibition held every few years in Washington, D.C.



Even after the end of the exhibition, people continued to mail secret postcards to Warren, inspiring him to launch the website via Blogspot on January 1st, 2005. At the beginning, Warren would line up the postcards in his home and take photos of them instead of scanning them. By August 2005, PostSecret had received 5 million hits and 3,000 post cards[6] from around the world.

Precursor: Confession Blogs

While PostSecret is not the first confession blog, it was the first to incorporate the aesthetic appeal of the postcard medium into sharing personal details of one’s life. The earliest known confessional blog has been attributed to the text-based site NotProud,[11] which was first launched in 2000 to curate user-submitted secrets that are sorted into seven different categories.[12] Other early adopters of user-submitted confession blogs include GroupHug.us,[14] which assigns random numbers to confessions in case users want to interact with each other anonymously, and Confess-it[13], which allows users to anonymously submit audio recordings of their confessions.

Possible Murder Confession

On August 31st, 2013, Warren posted that week’s secrets containing a postcard of a Google satellite map with the text “She said she dumped me but really I dumped her (body)” and a red arrow pointing to what appeared to be a wooded area (shown below) . After posting the secret, he tweeted[46] a question, asking whether or not Redditors could help track down more information. Nearly immediately, the image was submitted to /r/WTF[47] where it received 391 upvotes, 314 overall points and 173 comments tracking the map down to Jackson Park in Chicago before it was removed by a moderator for posting identifying information.



Following the removal of the /r/WTF post, the subreddit /r/PostSecretCrimeInfo[48] was created, gaining nearly 100 subscribers in 24 hours. On September 1st, the Daily Dot[49] reported on the postcard and the ensuing conversation over PostSecret’s responsibility when receiving cards that potentially break laws. The same day, the Chicago Tribune[50] reported that a search team had scoured Jackson Park but they did not find any evidence of a dead body.

Reception

The first news program to discuss Frank Warren’s project was NPR’s All Things Considered[10] on March 30th, 2005. Later that year, PostSecret was featured on the Guardian[6], CoolHunting[19] and the Washington Post.[20] It was also named one of the 50 Coolest Websites of 2005[22] by TIME Magazine. By November 2005, Warren had published his first book[21] compilation of postcards. That same year, actual secrets from the project were printed in large format and used in a music video by American rock band All-American Rejects.




Over the years, PostSecret and Frank Warren have been featured on the Huffington Post[37], Neatorama[38], USA Today[39] and Mashable.[40] The site has also won multiple Weblog Awards[36] and seven Webby Awards. In addition, parodies of the blog have been featured on CollegeHumor[34] and Celeb Post Secret.[35]

Traffic

As of May 9th, 2012, PostSecret has an Alexa[2] global rank of 15,547 and US rank of 3830, Compete[3] score of 10,757 and a Quantcast[4] rank of 9185. On Facebook[8], PostSecret has 1,148,556 likes and has 487,623 followers on Twitter.[9] As of February 2012, PostSecret is the most visited advertisement free blog in the world and Warren has received more than 500,000 postcards.[7]

Related Sites

The Post Secret Community[23] (shown left below) was founded in July 2007 as a message board for fans of the site to discuss featured posts and share secrets of their own on an in-depth level. The community also hosts meet ups and provides an outlet for fans to interact outside of confession-sharing. Since Warren does not keep secrets on public display for longer than a week, several now-defunct sites created their own archives including a Tumblr blog[26], a Flickr[27], and a Blogspot.[28] PostSecretArchive.com[29] (shown right below) and a second Tumblr[25] are currently archiving secrets, both using searchable tags to collect cards on the same topic. Tumblr users can also share secrets that they have saved via the tag #PostSecret.[33]



In 2007, a secret about a lost camera found at the music festival Lollapalooza encouraged Canadian student Matt Preprost to start a blog called I Found Your Camera[30], which allows its visitors to submit found photographs in order to return them to their proper owners. The blog was covered on Digital Journal[31] and CNN[32] in 2008, as well as in Warren’s TED talk in 2012.



Confession blogs have also grown popular on Tumblr[15], with a directory[16] containing hundreds of links to fandom-based sites. Additionally, there are hundreds of confession threads archived[24] from 4chan and at least eight[17] different subreddits where Redditors can share their secrets, including one specifically for PostSecret.[18]

iPhone App

In September 2011, Warren released a paid mobile app that allows its users to anonymously share secrets and post comments through their iPhones. On January 1st, 2012, Warren removed it from the App Store, stating that the malicious content on the site became overwhelming for its volunteer moderators[41] and that he had removed the app from his daughter’s phone over a month earlier. Before its removal, the app had taken the top spot in the store with 30,000 secrets per day and 2 million overall shared with the tool. The discontinuation of the app was covered by Cnet[42], the Washington Post[43], Mashable[44] and MSNBC.[45]

Search Interest



External References

[1]PostSecret Home

[2]Alexa – Postsecret.com

[3]Compete – Postsecret.com

[4]Quantcast – Postsecret.com

[5]Artomatic – Home

[6]Guardian – Secret Service

[7]BoingBoing – PostSecret’s Frank Warren Gives a TED Talk

[8]Facebook – Postsecret

[9]Twitter – @postsecret

[10]NPRPostcards Feature Secret Messages from Strangers

[11]Not Proud – Confessed (archive from 2006)

[12]Yahoo! News – NotProud.com: Would You Share Your Confessions with the World?

[13]Confess-it – Home

[14]GroupHug.us – Home

[15]Tumblr – Posts tagged “Confession Blog”

[16]Tumblr – Fuck Yeah Confession & Secret Blogs (Directory)

[17]Reddit – Links to secret sharing subreddits

[18]Reddit – /r/PostSecret

[19]Cool Hunting – PostSecret

[20]the Washington Post – Confessions Are Good for the Soul

[21]Amazon – PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives

[22]TIME50 Coolest Websites 2005: Blogs

[23]PostSecret Community – Home

[24]Chanarchive – Search results for “confession”

[25]Tumblr – Archive Post Secret

[26]Tumblr – PostSecret Archive

[27]Flickr – Post Secret Archive

[28]Blogspot – Post Secret Archive

[29]PostSecret Archive – Home

[30]I Found Your Camera

[31]Digital Journal – Website Posts ‘Orphan Photos’ From Lost Cameras, Hoping to Find Owners

[32]CNNLost something? Check the virtual lost and found

[33]Tumblr – Posts tagged “postsecret”

[34]CollegeHumor – PostSecrets Through History

[35]Celeb Post Secret

[36]Wikipedia – The Weblog Awards (Bloggies)

[37]Huffington Post – EXCLUSIVE: New PostSecret Post Cards

[38]Neatorama – Post Secret: New Book Interview with Frank Warren

[39]USA Today – Blogger gives dark secrets the first-class treatment

[40]Mashable – Frank Warren’s A Lifetime of Secrets of PostSecret

[41]App Advice – PostSecret iPhone App Removed From App Store Due To Misuse

[42]Cnet – PostSecret shuts down iPhone app due to abusive posts

[43]Washington Post – PostSecret iPhone app shut down due to ‘threatening’ and ‘pornographic’ content

[44]Mashable – PostSecret App Discontinued Because of ‘Malicious’ Posts

[45]MSNBCPostSecret iPhone app closed due to ‘threatening’ and ‘pornographic’ content

[46]Twitter – @postsecret: I have tried to share all the information I have on the top secret this week.

[47]Reddit – /r/WTF: Guy sends in the map location of his dead girlfriend’s body to PostSecret. Reddit, can you identify where this is?

[48]Reddit – /r/PostSecretCrimeInfo

[49]The Daily Dot – Did PostSecret pass around a murder confession?

[50]Chicago Tribune – Search turns up nothing after anonymous postcard tip of dumped body

Recent Videos 6 total

Recent Images 36 total

Top Comments

Arlon The Serene (Free Cake)
Arlon The Serene (Free Cake)

@GypsyBrony
Cool! Except, what on Earth does that have to do with this? Don’t just arbitrarily bring up ponies when you feel like if it has less than .997% relevance. Besides, we already have a ponified version of this called “MLP Confessions”, which is highly disliked by most bronies. I suppose uploading those would kinda’ fit, as they are secrets one has about stuff, specifically ponies.

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