Frank Warren

This conversation is closed.

What makes us keep or share our secrets? Live Conversation with Frank Warren, Post Secret author on May 4th, 1 pm EDT.

Join the TED Speaker and Post Secret author Frank Warren for a one hour Live Q&A here on May 4th, 1pm EDT.

Click below to watch the "Half a Million Secrets" TED Talk!

Closing Statement from Frank Warren


Responding to your thoughtful questions helped me understand the project better.

Here is my address for mailing secrets:
13345 copper ridge road
Germantown, MD 20874

"Free your secrets and become who you are."

Thanks,
-Frank

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    May 4 2012: Last 10 minutes. This has been fun!

    -F
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    May 4 2012: Most popular secret. . . "I pee in the shower".

    :)

    -F
  • May 4 2012: I have been reading post secret religiously every Sunday since I first discovered it. I hardly ever miss a Sunday and now own every book. I have no questions for you, but a great thank you for creating this project and bringing people of all sorts together. Thank you for Post Secret, it has helped an unbelievable amount of people through tough times in sowing them that they are not alone
  • May 4 2012: i have no question. I just wanted a venue to say "Thanks for giving us Post Secret" it has really been a source of inspiration and helped me with my own recovery (addiction). Frank Warren you have been a huge part of my that recovery. maybe that's my question. How does it feel to effect so many in such a deep way?
  • May 4 2012: After the time is up for this live conversation will you continue to answer the questions that you haven't gotten to yet?
  • May 4 2012: How much do you think PostSecret has changed the world?
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      May 4 2012: Guess... amounts to utter nothing! If u talk of one mr J Assange.... may be v r talking!!
  • May 4 2012: Where did you get the metal box that you carry your secrets in for the talks. Was it made specifically for this or was it repurposed?
  • May 4 2012: Through the years I have kept the secret of my "self" from others - I have been hiding behind a facade and allow others to believe it is me, because I fear I will not be well received. Recently I revealed some truths to people I trust and was amazed at the acceptance. I enjoy human connection, deep, honest, truth telling. I find it a great relief and very freeing to reveal my self. So, thank you for giving people the space to be real.
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      May 4 2012: Thanks for sharing. I think telling a secret can also invite others to share their secrets back with you.

      "Secrets are the currency of intimacy."

      -F
      • May 4 2012: Exactly, you are right. It seems that we prefer to hide because of fear instead of trusting that love will always find the truth - courage begins with being honest and true to ourselves.
  • May 4 2012: A few weeks ago, I realized keeping secrets for so many years can be very taxing on my mind. So, I began writing all the secrets I could remember down on paper. After finishing with over 200 secrets that I'd never shared with anyone... I confessed them all aloud (while home alone) and then destroyed the pages. Somehow, I felt better... lighter afterwards.

    Really enjoy your project! Cheers! M
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    May 4 2012: Frank, when will you come to San Francisco, CA?
  • May 4 2012: When the day comes you decide to no longer do ps, what will happen to all of the secrets?
  • May 4 2012: Does the weight of the secrets sometimes get to you? What do you do to cope and relieve stress or sadness?
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      May 4 2012: I have had a difficult life myself. Struggles with mental illness, loneliness, bullying and deaths as a child. So reading heavy secrets usually makes me feel a sense of solidarity. Like others are struggling too.

      But maybe metaphorically there is a cost. I have never had worse back problems and am recovering from a second back surgery.

      -F
      • May 4 2012: It can be a burden if you don't have good boundaries - I tend to be an emotional sponge and have to "release" all the pains of the world regularly. Perhaps some yoga and meditation would help you let it go...sounds like you are carrying the world on your back.
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    May 4 2012: I read Post Secret at work in spite of it always making me tear up from the sad / wistful / loving / personal-no-one- congratulate-me stories because if I read them at home alone it makes me feel really sad. But then again, I read them there anyway. Why is it so compelling? Is it because it reminds us we're not alone in our secrets?
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      May 4 2012: I like to think reading them makes us feel less alone...or maybe at lease alone but with others.

      Some of the secrets can be difficult to read. But for people who have had troubled lives they may offer solace.

      I like to think of the project as comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: Have you ever thought a secret was fabricated by a person to seem more shocking/ funny/ sad for the sole purpose of being posted?
  • May 4 2012: IN your opinion, what compels us to keep or share a secret?
  • May 4 2012: Do you often or have you ever posted your own secrets to the blog or books?
    • May 4 2012: i've always wondered this as well - do you ever sneak in your own secrets?
    • May 4 2012: Frank has said that he puts one of his own secrets into every book
  • May 4 2012: Has collecting secrets changed your view on humanity?
  • May 4 2012: Do the secrets you receive burden you in any way?
  • May 4 2012: I keep my post secret app on my iPod, even though it is now blank. I miss the community, and I am not ready to let it go yet.
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    May 4 2012: Here' a link to a funny social media secret I just posted to my twitter followers.

    https://twitter.com/#!/postsecret/status/198441064246411264/photo/1

    -F
  • May 4 2012: Did you know that DeviantArt.com has started their own secrets? How do you feel about this? Do you feel that people are taking your idea, or that this is good for society?
    http://deviantartsecret.deviantart.com/
  • May 4 2012: Have you ever received a secret that angered you or made you question whether starting PostSecret was a good idea or not? If so, how frequently does it happen?
  • May 4 2012: Do you ever feel personally burdened with all of the secrets you get from total strangers?
  • May 4 2012: What is your plan for all the secrets you have received? I think the thought of throwing them away or destroying them has to be heartbreaking.
  • May 4 2012: Trust & paranoia make me share or keep my secrets.
  • May 4 2012: Frank is telling a lie necessary implication that you want to hide a secret?
    Or are there any other factors enabling that.
    How do you free yourself from the clutter of lie hood?
  • May 4 2012: So thank you for that! You are bringing back memories...:) good ones! I like the idea of sharing people vulnerabilities and imperfections in a fresh and innocent way and not as self-promotion as it is too often the case nowadays , postsecret is selfless! :)
  • May 4 2012: What's the weirdest thing you've ever received? Have you ever received anything other than secrets?
  • May 4 2012: Hello , just seeing you on Ted , made me emotional... someone told me about your website last year before Xmas , someone I cared deeply for , I went to visit him and he showed me your website ...I was ver sad to hear it was close a few months ago ... and now I don't talk to this person anymore , he's out of my life!
  • May 4 2012: Has anyone sent in a secret in a letter form instead or a postcard? Has anyone asked for you to write back to them, if so have you?
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      May 4 2012: I get postcards, letters, seashells, plates, stuffed animals, naked Polaroid photos, a knife, a coconut and an uncooked Idaho potato. All with secrets on them - wedding bands too.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: I just found out my mom has cancer after not speaking to her for over a year. She is going to die. Any advice.
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      May 4 2012: All moms die, just like we all will but how fortunate that you can be alive and together today.

      (Yeah, I'm better at getting secrets than giving advice.)

      -F
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    May 4 2012: The worst secrets in my view are two
    1. Those kept by religion.... by a rude comment - as the book says or as the church commands or as the prophet hath said...
    2. Those kept by the big guv - governments... be it authorial like the Chinese or the ultra capitalist like US ... they all have secrets...
  • May 4 2012: When will the next Post Secret book be out?
  • May 4 2012: Have you ever tried to contact someone who has sent in their secret?
  • May 4 2012: when you were young, what did you want to be when you "grew up" ?
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      May 4 2012: I had a difficult childhood so my aspirations were small.

      It feels like PostSecret found me.

      -F
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    May 4 2012: Importance of information is to blame. When I know an info can break someone or destroy a relationship, or cause me to lose out... I keep a secret...
  • May 4 2012: Can we do our own Post Secret veil of secrets in our own town?
  • May 4 2012: Frank, I am used to speak a lot of lies. Not that I want to but it automatically happens. How do I control?
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      May 4 2012: Not an uncommon secret. Do you have enablers?

      -F
      • May 4 2012: I just want to show that I am not a low class but a great achiever.
        Why does it happen how do I ground myself?
  • May 4 2012: Frank when are you coming to Canada ? I want to go to a post secret event sooooo bad
  • May 4 2012: Just signed in. Will this conversation be posted on TED, or is it a secret?
  • May 4 2012: when can we find out dates for 2013 shows?
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      May 4 2012: The best way is to go to postsecret.com and enter your email address in the PostSecret News field (join the mailing list).

      -F
  • May 4 2012: Are the Sunday Secrets always from the pervious week or do you take some old ones too?
  • May 4 2012: Have you ever wanted to move yet been stopped because the secrets get mailed to your home?
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      May 4 2012: Early on in the project my wife sarcastically told me, "Gee thanks Frank, now we can never move from our house."

      -F
  • May 4 2012: I'm keeping these feelings from someone I care about very much and I haven't seen him in over 5 years. Yesterday, I wrote him a 8-page letter telling him about all that I have felt since I met him, over 15 years go (I'm only 22!). Now I don't know whether or not I should send it to him... Any suggestions?

    Also, please do come to the UK some time soon!

    All the best! *
  • May 4 2012: Frank, you have mentioned that you get any post cards in the mail everyday, but there are so many you do not publish. Every Sunday morning, I look at your site while sipping my coffee, I become disappointed that there isnt more. Why do you publish so few? Would you consider posting more secrets on Sunday?
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      May 4 2012: It's just me. I do not delegate so what I am able to do is limited. I wish I could share them all - maybe someday. But for my summer interns who sometimes read through all the postcards, they tell me they are thankful for my curation every Sunday.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: Do you ever think of what will happen when you choose to end the PostSecret project? Do you think people will continue to mail you secrets even after it ends?
  • May 4 2012: Do you ever feel like a voyeur, reading and publishing people's secrets?
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      May 4 2012: My dad thinks the project can be voyeuristic. My mom has called PostSecret diabolical and rejected our offer to send her a copy of the latest PostSecret book...One of my secrets...

      -F
      • May 4 2012: How do you feel about your Mom and Dad being against the project?
  • May 4 2012: I would love to attend one of your talks, are you planning on coming to NY any time soon?
  • May 4 2012: When the day comes you decide to no longer collect/publish postsecret, what will happen to all of the secrets?
  • May 4 2012: Thank you for all the work you do for Post Secret and to everyone else involved. I have never felt more connected than when I am reading other people's most intimate secrets.

    I anxiously await the day I read that Post Secret is coming to England! I would love to thank you in person.

    Keep up the good work :)
  • May 4 2012: Are you planning on writing another book soon?
  • May 4 2012: I would love to see a Post Secret exhibit at the moma in San Francisco. Is this a possibility?
  • May 4 2012: Will you ever speak around the Pittsburgh area!? I would love to come hear you speak at an event or possibly even my school : )
  • May 4 2012: how do you decide which secrets go on the website and in the books? When you post the secrets on Sunday's are they generally new secrets that have recently come in the mail? How do you keep track of which secrets have already been published so you don't use them again?
  • May 4 2012: I just wanted to say that what you have started is one of the best things ever! I was young when a friend was talking about Post Secret and I was curious as to what that was. My friend showed me the book and from there on out I have been a faithful Post Secreter.. I check the website and read the post cards, I loved the post secret app! It's ashame that people had to ruin such an amazing thing!!

    Will there ever be a return of the Post Secret app?

    Thank you for all that you do and for being an amazing guy!
  • May 4 2012: I don't keep secrets. I tell them to anyone nearly anywhere...I feel like a pariah in my hometown. I have no friends and I make many people uncomfortable when I tell my "not" secrets.
    Maybe its not the secrets I tell that makes me unlikable...maybe its my vulnerability that scares people. I don't know...its sad and a bit lonely...:-(
  • May 4 2012: Is there a particular time of year you receive more postcards? Do you keep track of the postal codes they were mailed from?
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      May 4 2012: Now I am getting more secrets about parents. That will help when I post all secrets about Moms on Mother's Day. It will be a collection of all the complicated raw sentiments you will never see at Hallmark.

      -F
      • May 4 2012: Can't wait! Saw this come across my FB and had to stop and wonder what day of the week it was (unemployment is rough).
        Thanks for the answer!
  • May 4 2012: Frank, you are a man truly blessed.
  • May 4 2012: Why don't you have "best of the app" anymore? I miss the app so much.
    Has the mother of "lovie" (little girl with leukemia) ever contacted you? I think about her all the time...

    Edit: found answer below about the app. Still wondering about lovie though. I pray she is alright.
  • May 4 2012: is it more difficult to keep/share secrets of people who you know personally as compared to folks you know virtually??does the sense of responsbility differ??
  • May 4 2012: I've sent in secrets and never see them, what happens to all the secrets you don't post?
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      May 4 2012: All the postcards come to my home and I read and keep each one. I think each one is special.

      I get hundreds every week and can only post about 20 so . . . Keep trying.

      :)

      -F
      • May 4 2012: Thanks for the reply frank, I think the work you do is amazing!!!!! Been a loyal fan for years!
  • May 4 2012: Why don't you keep an archive on the PostSecret website?
  • May 4 2012: The University of Central Florida is the second largest university in the US. Ever considered coming here? (:
  • May 4 2012: Are you ever going to do the PostSecret art exhibit again? I missed it the last time it went around and I would love to see a room full of some of the secrets you receive
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      May 4 2012: We are working on a new art exhibit using some of the secrets that were just at NY's MOMA.

      Some secrets are on exhibit now at the American Visionary Art Museum.

      We are also working on a UK tour and a PostSecret play.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: Hi Frank,

    I know that you have put one of your personal secrets in each book published so far, are you going to be continuing that with future books? Also do those closest to you generally figure out which secret is yours? Have you ever published one of your secrets on the website?

    Thank you
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      May 4 2012: Yes, I put one of the my secrets in every PostSecret book and will continue.

      I have published my secrets before on the website but not for a long time. My secrets are not a good as the ones mailed to me.

      :)

      -F
  • May 4 2012: Do you ever plan on coming to Michigan? I'd love to come to one of your presentations. Also, how do the secrets you receive inspire you?
  • May 4 2012: Would you consider doing an event in Ottawa, Ontario? I would truly love to attend one and bring my boyfriend and so he can learn more about PostSecrets and love it so much like I do.
  • May 4 2012: Thank you so much for giving us Post Secrets. I can not tell you how many times I will run across a secret and stop and have to really think, "is this mine?? How did they know?" It is a great example of how we are not alone in this world with our fears, hurts and secrets. You get to see all of the secrets, how often does this happen to you? And have you ever found some that you thought were to dangerous to release for some reason?
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      May 4 2012: More than once people have emailed me and pleaded with me to reveal the postal mark where the secret came from because, they tell me, I think I must have written that secret to you myself because it is personal and true to me. But I must have forgotten putting it in the mail.

      -Fr
  • May 4 2012: Do you think of starting ted branches around the world ,and do some event in arab country in kuwait for example?
  • May 4 2012: You give talks at universities all over the US - have you thought about coming over to the UK?
    • May 4 2012: We attended his talk in Oregon earlier this week and he said he was trying to put together a UK tour. Hope it works out for you, it was a great event!
  • May 4 2012: First thank you for everything you do! You and PostSecret have helped so many people!! Also, I look forward to the day that the App can be resurrected in some way

    Do you ever gear talks towards a specific audience? For example - if it was a LGBQT group that sponsored your appearance, would you focus your talk on those issues?
  • May 4 2012: I would love to have a similar project to this develop in 3rd world countries like mine. Are there any possibilities to contact you to have a conference deliverd here in central America?
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      May 4 2012: I have spoken in South America and the UK before. I'd love to go back or to other lands too - Australia...

      Please contact my speaker's bureau for more info:

      Keppler Speakers.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: What advise would you give youths about creating something unique in the world like PostSecret? Or simply people who want to start something that would, as cliche as it may sound, change the world? P.S. When will you come to Ohio State University? O-H!
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      May 4 2012: Great question.

      The web gives anyone the ability to reach millions of people for zero cost. This has never been possible in all of human history.

      I think the more important projects started on the web are the ones that are about building a conversation not a revenue stream. My advice would be tell the unstories give voice to the unheard.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: I guess what makes us keep or share secrets is the comfort level at any given point of time and our mental state and vulnerability.
  • May 4 2012: Most of the secrets seem to fit in categories. Have you ever received a secret that didn't fit anywhere?
  • May 4 2012: Hey Frank, so we have all these secrets, what now? Do we collect them? Analyse them?
  • May 4 2012: Do you have a favorite PostSecret book? If so which one and why?
  • May 4 2012: Have you ever been met with hostility/negativity toward what you do when people find out?
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      May 4 2012: One secrets I posted read, "I worked all my life to get into Harvard and now that I'm here I hate it."

      She later contacted me, confirmed what was on the back of the postcard, and asked me to take it down. She said that people she knew knew it was hers and she was catching flack.

      I took it down but emailed her back suggesting that sharing that secret might be tough in the short run but it might motivate her to find a better fit or a new place on campus that was better for her. In the long-run I still believe it may have pushed her to make a health decision.

      -Frank
  • May 4 2012: Have you ever realized a secret is from someone you know personally?
  • May 4 2012: Hi, Frank! I would like to congratulate you on your work! I would like to ask you how do you manage to keep up with this project for so long and how do you deal with the mediatization of PostSecret. Don't you worry about the possibility of some secrets being invented and how do you deal with that? Thank you and keep up the excellent work!!
  • May 4 2012: Hi Frank, I live in Germantown too and recently swung by your house to take a picture of your mailbox and I was surprised at how indiscreet it actually is. How often do you have people come by to check out your place? Do you ever think it will get to a point where you have to use a PO Box? What's your favorite Germantown hangout?
  • May 4 2012: I really, REALLY miss the app community. I've never felt more connected to the world than when I used the PS app. Is there any talk or chance of getting the app back up again, or working on a new one?
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      May 4 2012: We are working to create a book with App secrets or create a keyword searchable database online.

      We have over 2 million of these App secrets - it's really a precious archive.

      -F
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    May 4 2012: What makes a secret, a secret worth sharing?
  • May 4 2012: When's your next appearance in the D.C. Area? Northwest H.S. in Germantown is near by that auditorium could do can it?
  • May 4 2012: Are there any secrets that anger that you, ones you don't feel you can connect to on an empathetic, human level?
  • May 4 2012: what do you plan to do with all the "unseen" never posted postcards?
  • May 4 2012: Will you Ever be coming to somewhere like London, England? we would love you to come over and do a talk. :)
  • May 4 2012: I was just contacted by a girl who bullied me for years on facebook. She asked me to forgive her. I reflected back on the years of trauma looked at the Physical and emotional scars and decided that I didn't forgive her.
  • May 4 2012: Hello Frank!

    Do you think it's simply the anonymity that enables sharing of deep dark secrets? If so, do you think people feel a sense of absolution or resolution, after the 'confessional'? Or is it also the sense of community it gives people, to see others' secrets all in one place?
  • May 4 2012: Do you see post secret changing in the future?
  • May 4 2012: You recently made mention of an appropriate way to end Postsecret when the time came, is this something you are considering?
  • May 4 2012: What is the saddest secret you have known?
  • May 4 2012: :)
  • May 4 2012: Frank, when are you coming to Calgary, AB, Canada? I missed you last time you were here and have been checking weekly for another event in Calgary.
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      May 4 2012: I will be returning to Canada for sure. I'm always happy when I get invited to speak there.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: Do you see that the revealers have had the therapeutic experience when they let the secrets out, therefore the experiment benefits both the giver and receiver? If you do, is it what you expected? Anything surprised you?
  • May 4 2012: Frank, first I'd like to thank you for your inspiring blog, and I guess also the people who provide the secrets!

    My question is, for you personally, what was the most influential secret that you read?
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    May 4 2012: Frank, in a world overun with technology and communication tools - do you worry about the future of secrets. Are we in danger of oversharing? I hope not.
  • May 4 2012: Will you ever do a PostSecret event in England? Please???
  • May 4 2012: How do you feel about the controversial secrets? Like ones about region and other touchy subjects?
  • May 4 2012: Has a post secret ever made you cry?
  • May 4 2012: Frank, what do you do besides collect secrets?
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      May 4 2012: I was a small business owner for 20 years before the PostSecret project turned my life upside-down. I sold my business 2 years ago and now spend 50 - 60 hours a week just on secrets.

      I have a wife and daughter so I like spending time with them - hoping to see a roller derby match this weekend. I also like to swim, bike and hike with our dog Shadow.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: Do you get an emotional response from receiving the secrets? How do you deal with that?
  • May 4 2012: What music do you listen to when putting the secrets together each week? Do you think it influences which ones you pick, or vice versa?
  • May 4 2012: Frank, how come you never speak in Portland, OR? We'd love to have you! I always check to see if you'll be anywhere near the area.
    • May 4 2012: Frank was just in Forest Grove the other night -- it's not Portland proper, but it's not that far away

      Also, I think he has spoken at PSU before -- it's all a matter of who will invite/sponsor his appearance
  • May 4 2012: I've been a fan and fascinated by this project forever. What is your biggest concern/challenge now?
  • May 4 2012: Have you ever read a secret and not shared it on purpose?
  • May 4 2012: How do you choose which secrets are posted? I imagine you must get a vast influx it would be hard to choose.
  • May 4 2012: Have you ever received a secret that prompted you to call the police or other authorities? Tell us about it.
  • May 4 2012: Can a postcard really capture the essence of someone's humanity? Or will it always be torn from its context and sound more startling than it really is? Frank, I think I know your answer, but I'd love to see other people's thoughts.
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      May 4 2012: I know that when I thought about sharing a secret on the postcard I got from Frank at TED this year, I didn't really feel I could "capture the essence". That being said, his talk, and things that people share are very powerful.
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      May 4 2012: A postcard is only 6" x 4" so it is a challenge to tell a full story - secret - on it. I think that can make the impact more powerful though. The forced economy creates constraints like a poem. And sometimes what is left out can invite us to see the world through someone else's eyes.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: What would you do if someone shares a secret about an illegal action of theirs? What would you do if you receive an anonymous letter with coordinates of a hidden body or stolen money?
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    May 4 2012: Hi Everyone,

    Anyone want to share a secret today?

    -Frank
    • May 4 2012: The man that I'm in love with is old enough to be my father, but although I don't think we'll ever be anything but best friends I've turned down two other dates since I've known him. As the idea of dating someone else is horrible!
    • May 4 2012: I moved half way across the world alone, everyone thinks i've done so well for myself .My friends and family think it's amazing that i moved to another continent and that i'm so happy here. but to be honest, all i want more than anything is to go home... i wish i wasn't so stubborn.
    • May 4 2012: Sometimes I hope that the gay/lesbian children will be born to me so I know that they will be in a loving, accepting family.
    • May 4 2012: Sometimes I hope that the gay/lesbian children will be born to me so I know they will be born into a loving, accepting family.
    • May 4 2012: I'm engaged to the most amazing man and can't wait to marry him, but sometimes I still look up my ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend to make sure I'm still "winning" the break up. The relationship ended nearly 4 years ago.
    • May 4 2012: I have never really stolen something before - but I constantly evaluate opportunity when I am faced with it. I attended one of your talks and before you came on stage I was determining what is more desirable - your macbook, the metal box with secrets (the box is very impressive - it wasn't about the secreits). After I saw the picture of all of your post cards - the choice became easy. Everything else paled in comparison.
    • May 4 2012: Sorry Frank if I did, it won't be a secret...I'll send a post card later :-)
    • May 4 2012: I already know that the man I've been dating for less than 3 months is the man I am going to marry.
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    May 4 2012: Do you follow up with persons whose secrets you share on the web page?
  • May 4 2012: Is there any types of secrects that can or can not be shared?
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      May 4 2012: Hi Elin,

      Yes, there are some secrets that I have to be careful about posting and I have been contacted about the FBI before about a postcard. Sorry, I am unable to give any details sounding that secret.

      That secrets I have to keep by law.

      -F
  • May 4 2012: Hi Frank, thank you for doing this! I'd love to know more about how you see the PostSecret project… do you enjoy running it? Has it changed how you look at people in your everyday life? Do you ever feel like you know too much? :)

    Thank you!
  • May 4 2012: Who do you share your secrets with, if anyone?
  • May 4 2012: Are most secrets happy or sad?
  • May 4 2012: What causes people to hold onto a secret, and not tell anyone?