Seth Says...Secrets in Confessions through Revelations: PostSecret
Probably my guiltiest pleasure on the web, PostSecret is one of the greater experiments in emotional interaction I think I've ever seen. The premise: those willing and brave enough submit their secrets, confessions, declarations or all else personal to this blog site written on different mediums. Postcards, photographs, dollar bills—you'll find mini-graffiti of all sorts. The effect: sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes infuriating admittals that reveal intriguing and often times unsettling connections.
We've been bred in a society that likes to find humor in others' pain, but I challenge anyone to read through some of these confessions and not feel a pang of uneasy relation to your cyber peers. Viral crushes, parental resentment, even suicidal thoughts are common motifs in many of the postings, but you'll also find a good amount of humorous, maybe even to the point of vulgar, revelations. It would be easy enough to just allow web-users to post a text blog with their secrets, but the fact that people are expressing through art adds another dimension of effectiveness.
Obviously whatever bloggers decide to put their confessions on is revelatory; or maybe it's not. That's for us to decide. But I love that the written text comes in a variety of forms. What are we to think of the bubbly girl handwriting who is admitting how much she hates herself? Or the unaffected, anonymous typewritten text that confesses to murder? Or the message "I love the smell of my own flatulence" written in beautiful penmanship? The authors of these secrets are given complete control over their expression, letting the readers into as much or as little of their personality as can be derived from text on image (and it's more than you would think).
Another aptly intriguing stylistic choice about the website is the anonymity under which its' designed. Naturally, the identity of the confessors is unknown. But also not readily accessible is the web master. I could probably find out who maintains the site if I wanted, but I like the idea of an open forum, only stitched together through a community of soul bearers, so I'm going to leave it at that. There's no I've-got-the-last-opinion editor looking to account his own words over the words of others. It can be likewise said for the website design itself: black background, white text, no ads. Without superfluous details it really is just all about the text and the emotional spillage that pours onto the page. Web surfers get words, art, the resulting expression and nothing else. Do with it what you will.
I've thought about sending in my own confession once or twice, just to see what it would feel like to see my secret displayed on a public web-page where only I know who wrote it. I wonder if it would leave me relieved, or simply self-loathed at the fact that my secret is still pretty much a secret. Who knows. But at least I know I'm not the only one hiding something.