The Postsecret Community

As I look back on my experiences this semester on the Postsecret blog, community blog, iphone app, Facebook and Twitter page, the most important aspect appears to be the individuals that make up the Postsecret community. Because Postsecret is anonymous, it was extremely difficult to begin an ongoing conversation with other members of the community. That being said, the Postsecret community has the ability to respond to a secret with support, empathy, compassion, and understanding. I found the following secret on the iPhone app that explains the Postsecret community perfectly:

There are individuals on the site who just want to make other community members smiles:

People come to the Postsecret community to share good news and bad news:

It was easy to get the Postsecret community to respond to my posts, but I never heard back from Frank throughout my project. I tried to contact him multiple times through Twitter, Facebook, and the Postsecret blog. I was upset that I never heard back from him.

The story of Robert and Valerie demonstrates the amazing power the Postsecret community can have. The following secret was posted to the app:

Robert’s secret immediately rose to the top secrets of the day. In addition to “hearting” and replying to the secret, some individuals took it upon themselves to help Robert’s search:

I jumped on the bandwagon through twitter:

Along with the rest of the community, I expected Valerie to discover the secret, return Robert’s love, and they would live happily ever after, all thanks to  Postsecret. But that’s not what happened:

Though it’s not the ending I expected, the story of Robert and Valerie demonstrates the overwhelming power Postsecret possesses. Through Postsecret, strangers are able to connect in a real way. As the popularity of Postsecret continues, more and more secrets are shared with the community, expanding the discourse of the community!

use of technology

Yesterday evening was a typical night for me. I watched TV, aided by my TiVo. Since I got the recording device, I have found that I watch a lot more TV than before, because more of the shows I like are constantly available to me. I also used my macbook computer throughout the evening. I worked on a paper, looked on Twitter, and killed some time on Facebook. Lastly, I used my iPhone to text friends, call my parents, and set an alarm for the following morning. I find that I use my iPhone more when I am out of my apartment because it can function as a substitute for the things I can do on my my computer.

Wikipedia Entry

The “Postsecret” page on was pretty informative. I included a detailed background story of how Frank began the project, how different media outlets have responded to Postsecret, and information about the Postsecret books. I was shocked, however, that there was no information on the Wikipedia page about the iPhone app, which has ended up being a huge part of my practicum project. So, under the heading, “Public attention and other media.” I added a brief summary of the launch of the Postsecret App through Apple. I included information that was shared on the Postsecret Twitter account (such as the launch date, popularity, etc) to ensure accuracy in my post.

Over the course of the semester I have saved my favorite secrets from the Postsecret App; I figured this is the perfect time to share them with  you… enjoy!!

Postsecret technology

I wonder if Frank realized how integrated Postsecret would become with technology! Since the launch of the iPhone app, the Postsecret community has become more interactive than ever before.

This participation provides a sharp contrast to the Postsecret community blog, another aspect in my practicum project. I am supposed to communicate with the Postsecret community, which has proven to be nearly impossible. In fact, the first discussion post I made on the blog, which ironically has remained to be the most “popular” conversation on the blog, has had no responses since my post months ago. It was much more rewarding and entertaining to look at secrets on the iPhone app- I can respond to recently posted secrets and potentially have someone respond to what I posted, possibly creating a conversation. No matter what I posted to the blog, there was no response. I rarely published a secret on the iPhone app which didn’t have some kind of response- so far, the biggest response I received got 139 “hearts” and 6 replies!! I was thrilled. However, there is the possibility that a secret can fall through the cracks of the iphone and become lost in the app. Many times, I see secrets from people who are suicidal, posted either as a last cry for help or as a goodbye post. It frightens me to think that someone who feels so alone might not be comforted by the Postsecret community.

Because when this community has the opportunity to get together- amazing things are possible. I often look at the Postsecret app right when I wake up in the morning- one day, I saw this secret-

I immediately “heart-ed” the secret. I planned to continue to check the app throughout the day, but the next time I checked the app (not even a full half hour later), I saw that the secret was not only a top secret of the hour, but there were far more than 100 hearts:

Though, as you can see, some people responded with hurtful messages, other responses were more supportive:

A short while later, the writer of the original secret responded to his secret by saying:

I was happy that I was able to be a small part of this person’s journey. I now check my Postsecret app more often than my Facebook or Twitter apps, which is saying a lot.

My favorite, of course, is checking the Postsecret blog (different from the community blog) on Sundays, where Frank posts the Sunday secrets. However, as many times as I emailed my responses of the secrets to Frank, none of my messages were chosen to be included in his blog. So, to end this blog post, I will share my favorite secret from this week:

YouTube vs. Hulu

For this blog post, I wanted to find the same video on both Hulu and YouTube. I decided to look up the latest episode of the television show Parks and Recreation, called “The Smallest Park.”

The 22 minute episode was easy to find on Hulu. After 30 seconds of advertisements, the episode is available to watch. Throughout the episode, there were three advertisement breaks that lasted one minute long. For this viewing, I saw advertisements for a Christmas Barbie, Geico, and the yellow pages. I noticed that Hulu gives the viewer the option to change the advertisement they are forced to watch. However, it is annoying that these advertisements cannot be skipped. Hulu also offers additional episodes and clips of Parks and Recreation.

I could not find “The Smallest Park” on YouTube. YouTube offers a number of other videos related to Parks and Recreation (such as interviews with the actors, bloopers, extended scenes, and clips). I found a few videos of the episode that I was looking for, but they had all been removed due to copyright infringement.

As an official content provider, Hulu is able to offer current television episodes with brief commercial interruptions to the public. Youtube, on the other hand, is framed as an amateur space for online content. Though the official episode of the television show I was looking for was unavailable, I was given a number of additional unofficial/behind-the-scenes videos of the show.

copyrighting and other regulations

When I experience content online, I hardly notice the copyrighting and regulations that come along with that content. For the most part, I “accept” the terms of agreement for all sites without actually reading the terms, which I can safely assume is what everyone else does as well. I buy most of my music legally (mostly due to the fact that I don’t know how to illegally download free music to my computer and am too scared of opening a corrupt file). However, I watch a LOT of TV online. Many of the sites I use to watch certain TV shows are not legal distributors of the content. However, I do not care that the site I am on is illegal if it has the content that I am looking for. As far as content I personally produce on the internet, I honestly have not put much thought into regulation. I often re-post blogs or videos that I find entertaining or amusing to share with my friends on Facebook or Twitter; I have never thought about someone copying the content I produce online, but it now makes me want to think twice before I post something on the internet.

Googling myself…

After discussing privacy issues that exist within the internet, I was actually nervous to Google myself. I feared that something would come up about myself that I didn’t want to be public knowledge. When I googled my name, links to “Taylor Brickman’s” Facebook page came up, but none of the “Taylor Brickmans” were infact me. It made me feel better to know that I had set my Facebook privacy settings correctly. After the Facebook pages came a link for my personal twitter page, however, my twitter is set to “private”, meaning that if someone wants to look at my tweets, I need to approve their access to my twitter account. I also found an account I created on I was bored one day in 2002 and added myself as a graduate of my junior high to the site. Further down the google searches, I found myself in a listing as a counselor for my overnight camp.

MAJORITY of the links that pop up in a “Taylor Brickman” google search are not related to me. It was very interesting, however, to discover that there is a company called “Taylor Brickman Limited” in London, although I could not figure out what kind of company it is (I would love to get a t-shirt with that logo on the front). All Facebook and Myspace accounts that popped up were not mine. I am relieved that I am able to have some form of privacy on the internet…

With that being said– I have noticed that people who I do not know on Facebook are able to see and comment on photographs that I upload to Facebook. Recently, my sister got engaged, and so many people have commented on my photos of her engagement night who I do not personally know, which totally creeps me out! I can’t figure out how to stop my pictures from beings available to anyone on Facebook.