Geez, I have no idea, but this piece makes for a fascinating reading. Too bad blogspot.com is usually blocked by our lovely Great Firewall.
Bless Me, Blog, for I’ve Sinned
Online confessors are like flashers. They exhibit
themselves anonymously and publicly, with little consideration for you,
the audience. Browse some of the confessionals on the Web: grouphug.us
(a simple log), notproud.com (organized by deadly sin) or dailyconfession.com (where you can barely find the confessions for all the promotional stuff). You can see for yourself.
One online confessional, though, breaks the mold. At PostSecret, found at postsecret.blogspot.com,
the confessions are consistently engaging, original and well told. How
come? The Web site gives people simple instructions. Mail your secret
anonymously on one side of a 4-by-6-inch postcard that you make
yourself. That one constraint is a great sieve. It strains out lazy,
For PostSecret, you write,
type or paste your secret on a postcard, and then, if you want,
decorate the card with drawings or photographs. Next the stamp and then
the mailbox. Yes, it’s work to confess. And it should be, if only for
the sake of the person who might be listening.
One message says:
"I lied" under the word "oath." Another says, "I deleted the pope’s
funeral unwatched off my TiVO to make room for an episode of
‘Survivor.’ " The postcard picture – a split image, top half funeral,
bottom half ‘Survivor’ – captures the moment of sin.
secrets cannot be separated from the cards they’re on. One sad little
postcard has a lineup of seven 3-cent stamps, each with a picture of a
Conestoga wagon on it, plus one 2-cent stamp of a locomotive: "I found
these stamps as a child, and I have been waiting all my life to have
someone to send them to. I never did have someone."
following typed message was pasted onto a card made out of a $50
parking ticket: "I got a parking citation and so did the car next to
me. I replaced the ticket on the car next to me with mine. My ticket
got paid. And the one I took? I mailed it to PostSecret." It isn’t so
much a confession as a live performance of sin.
simple to navigate. You scroll down to read one postcard after another.
There’s little else on the site. O.K., you will occasionally run into
little self-congratulatory landmarks: announcements that PostSecret
will be onstage in Melbourne, Australia, newspaper clippings from all
over the world, scores of compliments from readers. But basically it’s
And the secrets are regularly refreshed. Each
Sunday, Frank, the keeper of the secrets, posts a new batch straight
from his mailbox in Germantown, Md., and removes some old ones from the
site. One virtue of the resulting chronological lineup is that you can
look for patterns emerging, certain kinds of confessions clumping
together. And clump they do.
For instance, the most recent
confessions tend to be the most graphically and ethically hip. They
look like the work of Barbara Kruger, Damien Hirst or Sophie Calle. "I
want to be anorexic," says one card with a photo of a skeletal woman,
"but I can’t stop eating."
And for some reason many of the
secrets posted on May 8 follow a certain form, a confession followed by
a coda with a dash more guilt: "I don’t care about recycling. (But I
pretend I do.)" "I had sex with strangers for money. And I liked it."
"I hate loving families… Because I don’t have one."
thing about PostSecret is that there’s a real disconnection between
what the confessions are and what the readers think they are. One
reader from Texas wrote, "Thank you so much for building a window into
so many souls, even if it only shines light on the darkest part." A
reader in Australia wrote: "Each is a silent prayer of hope, love,
fear, joy, pain, sorrow, guilt, happiness, hatred, confidence,
strength, weakness and a million other things that we all share as
human beings… there is no fakeness here."
No fakeness? Oh,
but there is. And it is the fakeness, the artifice and the performance
that make this confessional worth peeking at. The secret sharers here
aren’t mindless flashers but practiced strippers. They don’t want to
get rid of their secrets. They love them. They arrange them. They tend
them. They turn them into fetishes. And that’s the secret of
PostSecret. It isn’t really a true confessional after all. It is a
piece of collaborative art.