Frank Warren is the international man of secrets. He has read the most intimate, comical and hopeful secrets of people from China to the United States to Europe, and everywhere in between. And he doesn't have to hack anything or pry anyone to get this information, people mail them to him. How?
The Germantown resident started the PostSecret project in January 2005. PostSecret is a ongoing community art project. Warren's mailbox is stuffed daily by 100-200 homemade postcards with secrets written on them.
Postcards are submitted anonymously. Of about 1,000 postcards Warren receives weekly, he picks 20 to put on PostSecret.com and fewer to include in his books.
Through the project, Warren has published five books. The most recent book (Confessions on Life, Death, & God) reached the New York Times's Bestseller list. Warren travels internationally on book tours and visiting colleges to share the secrets, and the stories behind them. In addition, PostSecret has raised more than $50,000 to benefit the National Hopeline Network, a suicide prevention hotline.
Some secrets have sparked international response. For example, on June 6, a secret was posted that read, "I have lived in San Francisco since I was young ... I am illegal ... I am not wanted here. I don't belong anywhere. This summer I plan to jump off the Golden Gate."
One person commented "Please don't jump. I also wanted to jump of two years ago but I'm glad I didn't because things are now much easier." The news hit social media sites. Just three days after the card was posted, the Facebook group Please Don't Jump had 38,247 members. Fans all over the world submitted photos with pictures of themselves and the words "please don't jump" written somewhere.
The international response to the postcard has now led to an event to be held on Sept. 22 on the Golden Gate bridge to commemorate those who have taken their own lives on the bridge. The event is sponsored by Hopeline.
While Warren said he is no longer shocked by the secrets he receives, he is still surprised by their creativity. One week, Warren said he received secrets written on a bannana, an air sickness bag and an unfilled breast implant.
As the PostSecret fever doesn't seem to be cooling down, Warren said PostSecret is exploring the possibilities of a PostSecret application that would allow people to share secrets geographically. In addition, PostSecret is also looking into ways to share secrets through film and television.
Mail your own secrets to Frank Warren at 13345 Copper Ridge Rd., Germantown, MD 20874.
Click on the video to hear Frank Warren talk about his PostSecret project.