Monday, March 10, 2008

sxsw: 3.10.08 Keynote by postsecret’s Frank Warren

sxsw: 3.10.08 Keynote by postsecret’s Frank Warren

Bottom line words: authenticity, a very powerful presentation about expression

Frank Warren bio:
Called "the most trusted stranger in America," Frank Warren is the sole founder and curator of the PostSecret Project: A collection of nearly 200,000 highly personal and artfully decorated postcards mailed anonymously from around the world, displaying the soulful secrets we never voice, and the creator of the New York Times best-selling books: "PostSecret, The Secret Lives of Men and Women," "My Secret," and "A Lifetime of Secrets." Warren has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, 20/20, CNN, MSNBC, CBC, NPR and Fox News. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in the Social Sciences and moved to the Washington D.C. area to start a business. Fifteen years later, Instant Information Systems, his small business, takes up less of his time as he devotes more time and energy on the project that thrust him into the public eye. Warren receives between 100 and 200 postcards everyday.

I am getting ready to hear Frank talk about his experiences and am clicking on which goes to . It says:

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail
in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. This is a very creative multimedia art project as well as social experiment. If you want to bookmark the page and share it you can go to - it is amazing how the sharing world is growing – some you have known a while and many new ones:

Favorites Google Bookmarks
Digg MySpace Facebook Furl Yahoo MyWeb
StumbleUpon Reddit Newsvine Live Bookmarks
Technorati Twitter Yahoo Bookmarks myAOL Ask
Fark Slashdot Propeller (Netscape) Mixx
Multiply Simpy Blogmarks Diigo
Faves (Blue Dot) Spurl LinkaGoGo
Mister Wong Feed Me Links Backflip
Magnolia Segnalo Netvouz Tailrank BlinkList

Sorry, I got sidetracked looking these over – now on to Frank and the secret to his secrets. You can also visit .

Frank starts off by saying everyone in the audience knows more about blogging and technology than he does. He says he has some secrets to read he has brought and ones that people put in the box in the back of the room. He talks about the emotion of the secrets.

Wedding announcements, Polaroid photos, report cards, Starbucks cups.
I am here for work but looking for a job – I am from a big company but I am here to steal startup secrets – I have a wife but I have a crush at sxsw.

Out of 200,000 secrets he got an email from Texas – a woman visited the web site and she wrote down her secret, but he felt terrible about the secret but he tore it up because he did not want to remember it. A secret can actually undermine us in ways that we do to realize. We all have the potential to change our lives after a secret is over.

How did it get started? What are some of the secrets he has? What does he know he can share?

Three years ago in Washington DC and put out 3,000 cards and asked people to send it in – strangers were asked to write something down. The cards kept coming in and then he posted them in an art exhibit. After four weeks he had 90 postcards. However, the secrets kept coming in via virually from the real world, all over the world. He started a blog so he could share this with everyone. He notes the art and humor in our everyday lives.

Some are searching for grace, for authenticity; some to express a sexual taboo. He reads many cards and they are very poignant and very funny and very sad.

He says his project has shown to him the courage people have – those who are artists and those who are not. His father visited an exhibit that Frank had with 2,000 cards in DC – and his father watched people come in and look at the postcards and finally understood. Then his father gave an important secret to him on the way to the airport and it changed the relationship they had for the better.

An audience member says people are becoming more authentic and sharing intimacies. Communications now available to everyone – this is outside of commerce now and the tools allows us to express ourselves.