Wednesday, August 02, 2006

such fragile lives

I was just over reading LJSecret, a LiveJournal version of the now-famous PostSecret. For anyone who doesn't know, PostSecret was the creation of a man named Frank Warren who handed out blank postcards to random people and asked them to mail in their secrets. He posts some secrets on his blog each week, has published some in a book, and lent some to the All-American Rejects for use in their music video "Dirty Little Secret."

I kind of wonder sometimes what the obsession is with reading others' secrets. Even though a lot of them (especially on LJsecret) are "I love my best friend" or "This lesbian picture is so hot... but I'm a girl"-type secrets, I enjoy reading them too, and I've even sent a few secrets in myself. But here are my theories as to why people have become so addicted to reading and telling their deepest secrets:

1) Sheer morbid curiosity.
As in... there are really people who believe that? Some of the secrets sent in are gross erotic confessions or awful admissions of guilt. Some of them might just be fake- sent in for shock value- but I'm sure some, if not most, of the shocking ones are real. And it's interesting to read just how incredulous they can get.

2) Sympathy.
Finding out that someone shares the same weird secret as you makes you feel a little less alone. And in communities like LJSecret, you can make comments to tell someone else you agree or they're not alone, and when it's your secret and you read that... it makes you feel a lot better about yourself.

3) Feeling better about yourself.
Even better than someone sympathizing with you is to read someone's crazy secret and realize your own aren't so bad. Reading someone's depressing secret about their life could very well make you see the bright side of yours. And while it's kind of a sick way to improve your morale... it works. It also helps when people leave comments- it can make a person who feels alone and ignored feel cared about and listened to.

4) Release.
Admitting a deep-dark secret, even anonymously, can help someone get it off their chest. And we've all had something that we wanted to tell someone but were too ashamed or scared to tell-- so to get it out there, even anonymously, makes people feel a little better about them.

5) Publishing pride.
To be "published," even if it's your secret, makes some people proud. I'm not gonna lie; I got a bit of a thrill seeing my secret posted. It's also, for some people, a way to be creative and, in some cases, get that art noticed. On PostSecret, there's not so much of a way to respond to the secrets... but on LJSecret, people often comment about the artwork- good or bad- of certain secrets. It's fun to play around in PhotoShop, and even more fun when someone compliments your secret later, I'm sure.

So, there you have it. My random and somewhat uninspired speculation about SecretObsessors. Fin!

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