This Sunday, out of habit, I typed the PostSecret URL into my browser even though I knew what I would find there would be disappointing. I removed PostSecret from my RSS feed a couple months ago, but the voyeur in me can’t help but crane my neck to see what is going on in other people’s sad lives. What I found though was a mix of what is typical these days for PS – non-secrets and braggings of sociopaths. There was a time when the PostSecret secrets were actual, well, secrets. They were the things you don’t tell your best friend, your partner, or your therapist about. They were the confessions that finally make you feel normal, because at least one other person has the same secret as you and you never knew that you weren’t alone because it’s information that no one ever makes public. That was the beauty of PS and what made it so popular. One didn’t even have to Google their darkest secret, hunched over the monitor and clearing their history every 5 seconds. It was right there in their RSS feed: Hey, you’re not alone and you’re gonna be ok.
Maybe there is a finite number of secrets that can exist in the world, and that’s why it feels like some of the secrets are getting repetitive. Most secrets can be placed in a category of the major themes in our lives: sex, relationships, religion, mental health (including substance abuse). There are some repeat themes that I don’t get annoyed about seeing every week. If someone who is suicidal or a gay teen who is struggling sees an “it’s going to be ok” secret at just the time they need to, then I think that’s amazing. But that’s maybe one secret a week, so what about the rest of them?
More and more I feel like PostSecret could be renamed “People are Racist, Homphobic, Misogynistic, Cheating Liars And They Don’t Care” .com.
These are all from this week’s PostSecret because there is no archive of past secrets.
So in the Horrible Person file we have:
There was a time when it felt like PostSecret was one of the places where you could feel like maybe people were good. Now I usually spend my Sundays weeping for the state of humanity. And if people aren’t being outright horrible, they are living their lives like bad sitcoms or Gossip Girl. By which I mean their secrets are all problems that could be solved if anyone was honest with each other or communicated. Like, ever.
The ones that annoy me the most are the ones that aren’t even really secrets.
What happened to PostSecret could probably have been anticipated. It got a little too big for its britches and I think people feel like they have to be more “shocking” to get their secret published, hence the increase in Terrible Person secrets. I already know that people are terrible, though. That’s not a secret. At this point I think I would be more surprised to see a whole page of secrets about people being nice to one another, treating everyone respectfully, communicating clearly, and restoring everyone’s faith in humanity. Call me when they start that website.