The secret is out: Frank Warren to speak at UNC Charlotte

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Frank Warren, the creator of community blog project “PostSecret,” has received more than half a million highly personal and artfully decorated anonymously mailed postcards since 2004. Each Sunday, he handpicks 20 to post to his website. Some are witty and charming; others delve into darker and more private places.

Warren will speak about his project at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the Cone University Center, McKnight Hall. This free, public event is co-sponsored by Campus Activities Board and the Distinguished Speakers Forum.

“The secrets I receive reflect the full spectrum of complicated issues that many of us struggle with every day - intimacy, trust, meaning, humor and desire,” said Warren, who conceived PostSecret as a safe and anonymous “place” where people could hear unheard voices and share untold stories.

The postcard messages span from confessions of sexual taboos and criminal activity to secret beliefs, hidden acts of kindness, shocking habits and deep fears. A significant number reveal thoughts of depression and suicide, inspiring Warren’s advocacy for and partnerships with suicide prevention agencies and mental health support organizations.

“Secrets can be shocking or silly or soulful,” Warren said. “They can connect us with our deepest humanity or with people we’ll never meet.”

An anonymous PostSecret contributor submitted “I’m afraid the people that work at the tanning salon watch me tan naked” on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.

In 2009, Forbes named Warren the fourth most influential person on the Internet. His award-winning online blog has been featured in USA Today and on “The Today Show,” “20/20,” CNN, MSNBC, CBC, NPR and FOX News. The creatively illustrated secrets have traveled the world as an art exhibit and have been the subject of four bestselling books: “PostSecret,” “My Secret,” “The Secret Lives of Men and Women” and “A Lifetime of Secrets.”

Campus Activities Board (CAB) student employee Sandrine Uwera, director of CAB’s Talks and Topics programs, is part of the committee that invited Warren to campus.

"CAB is so excited to present Frank Warren to the campus,” Uwera said. “He is a dynamic speaker and his project revolutionized how people view their ‘secrets.’ We hope that his lecture will not only inspire, but might also be therapeutic to some who hear him speak."