Sunday, November 23, 2008

Why I'm done with PostSecret

I have been a fan of PostSecret since it launched in 2005. Every Sunday one of the first things I do is open up the site to read the new secrets. The point of PostSecret is for people to send in postcards that reveal a secret that nobody else knows. Since its inception some of the secrets have been funny or strange, and many have included disturbing personal experiences about trauma and abuse. Some have included PG-13 verging on R rated imagery.

For the last few months some of them are simply statements of fact about how someone feels. These have always annoyed me since they aren't really secrets, but none have really bothered me. Today the moderator of PostSecret, Frank Warren, posted what I felt was a horribly gruesome image, and the note from the submitter simply said it was disturbing. That was obvious and not a secret so Frank posted it for shock value, not because it was a compelling secret.

There is a separate site called the PostSecret Community, also moderated by Frank, where people comment on the week's secrets or share secrets of their own. Very quickly the disturbing image blew up with dozens of complaints and a mostly negative "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!" reaction.

As far as I can tell Frank never participated in any of those discussions, but he did send an e-mail to all the members of this site asking:
Have you seen the secret and postcard that literally made one woman vomit?

For me the whole thing ran off the rails today. A non-secret was posted purely for shock value, then Frank spammed the entire PostSecret Community to make sure the flames are sufficiently fanned. I'm disgusted by the image as well as the fact that it was obviously posted for sensationalism, and by how Frank has handled the uproar. I won't be visiting PostSecret again.

You will notice that I have not provided any links to PostSecret. This is for two reasons. First, I don't want anyone to follow the link and see the image and blame me for their trauma. I'm nauseated every time I think of it. Seriously. Second, I don't want to drive traffic to any of the PostSecret sites. If you're determined to know what all the fuss is about I'm sure you'll find it without my help.

For anyone who wants to comment and tell me I'm overreacting, don't. I have a right to set the boundaries I find appropriate. This crosses several of them.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like he posted one of the classic trick click pictures -- Goetze or Tub Girl or something like that.

    In any case, clearly he's simply trying to generate clicks any way he can.