For most people, the PostSecret phenomenon remains behind the pages of a book or the bright light of the computer screen. Last night, approximately 1500 students gathered in Burruss Hall to witness Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret, give personal insight into what began as a small community mail art project and continues to grow globally.
PostSecret Live is a presentation put on by Warren himself, including facts, stories and secrets within the project that began back in 2005.
“I’ve been stunned by the amount of secrets shared; they keep coming every day. I feel like secrets are inexhaustible,” Warren said.
Virginia Tech is the second of eight schools on the PostSecret Live tour this fall, which spans across the country from now through December.
His original goal was to receive 100 postcards. He now receives nearly 200 postcards each day to his home address.
“The whole thing didn’t make sense to me when it first started, but now I see how great it is that he is linking complete strangers across the globe,” said Kayla Ferrari, senior English major who attended the presentation.
Ferrari first began following PostSecret during her sophomore year of high school.
“Everyone wants to trust a stranger. He is just the man behind the curtain, but at the same time he is so open about everything that he does,” Ferrari said. “I don’t even know the guy and I want to be his friend.”
“I will say that it feels like a great honor to earn the trust of half a million people,” Warren said. “Last week someone sent me an email that said ‘I think what you do is a glorious burden’ and that’s kind of what its feels like to have that many people trust you and share with you. It’s a glorious burden.”
Warren has published five books full of people’s secrets, and also maintains a website with weekly ‘Sunday Secrets.’ The PostSecret website has been recognized as “Blog of the Year” and has received over 450 million hits.
Aside from the books and websites, Warren takes on a very active role within the project.
“I think that in this country sometimes especially we don’t feel comfortable talking about those parts of ourselves that we are struggling with,” said Warren. “PostSecret can be that safe place where that conversation can happen.”
He focuses on mental wellness, and won a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in suicide prevention. PostSecret has already raised over one million dollars towards suicide prevention. Warren met with Virginia Tech Student Wellness Services on campus Thursday.
“For me there is kind of a powerful connection between secrets and mental wellness,” added Warren. “All of this really reminds us how powerful secrets can be.”