‘PostSecret’ creator visits campus

Images courtesy of PostSecret.com

Images courtesy of PostSecret.com

By Ellyn Newell

Everyone has their secrets. Your secrets are Frank Warren’s life. Rather than keeping these secrets hidden, Warren works to uncover secrets and share them with the rest of the world.

Every week, Warren single-handedly reads the secrets of thousands of strangers through the experiment he calls PostSecret.

It is a project in which people can send in whatever they want to say on a 4×6 postcard. Secrets can range from the vulgar to the uplifting, or beautiful to downright chilling.

“The reason we feel uncomfortable sharing our secrets is because they are raw,” Warren said.

On Tuesday, Warren brings these secrets to Foellinger Auditorium as part of his PostSecret college tour. The secrets shown on this tour are “secret secrets,” meaning they have been banned from the books by the publishers and never seen online. Warren then opens up the floor for discussion.

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    “Here classmates reveal parts of themselves that bring out a sense of empathy,” Warren said. “Listening to classmates’ secrets bring them together in a special way.”

    Audrey Bloomberg, program director for the Hillel Foundation, the sponsor of the lecture, said she thought it was important to bring Warren here because many of the issues addressed on the Web site are relevant to the college experience.

    “I want students to understand that you don’t need to hide behind your secrets,” Bloomberg said.

    The most challenging part of setting up this event was trying to get everyone tickets, said Bloomberg. All 1,400 free tickets were gone in less than two days.

    The PostSecret phenomenon began four years ago when Warren walked the streets of Washington, D.C., handing out self-addressed postcards to strangers. He asked them to write down a secret of theirs and mail it back to him. Since then, Warren has received more than 300,000 secrets and averages about 1,000 postcards a week.

    These secrets are delivered to the general public through the Internet as well as in book form. There are four books on sale and the Web site is updated every Sunday with secrets from that week.

    “I post the cards that have a ring of authenticity to them – the ones that grab my heart,” Warren said.

    Warren started this project because he was struggling with secrets in his own life and felt that in reaching out to others, he may be able to explore parts of himself that he had been hiding from.

    “There are two kinds of secrets,” Warren said. “The ones we keep from others and the ones we hide from ourselves.”

    Erin Howell, sophomore in General Studies, is looking forward to hearing what Warren has to say and wants to see the postcards that were banned from the books.

    “My best friend got me into PostSecret about a year ago and I’ve religiously checked the site every Sunday for new posts,” Howell said.

    “I’m even planning on sending in a few secrets of my own.”