Frank Warren
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Frank Warren

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The best kept secret in music

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Dear Frank,
Last night, I attended your engagement at the University of Oregon. Not only was I blown away by you and everything you do and the secrets that others have shared with you, but I was blown away by the community I am lucky to be a part of.
For months, I have felt so alone here. I have felt like I do not belong and that the only people that care are the two I am closest with. Last night, I decided to share my secret at the microphone. Right after, I received a hug from the stranger behind me. Not a pity hug, I could feel that she really meant it. After the show, I was approached again a few times and received encouraging words from people I knew and also total strangers. When I returned to my dorm room, I was Facebook messaged by an acquaintance, and emailed by a girl whom I didn't know, but recognized me from a mutual class. It was all so touching, honestly.
Here I have been, in my dorm room for months thinking I'm the loneliest girl in the world, while I'm surrounded by this wonderful community of caring people. What I'm really trying to say is, thank you, Frank, for bringing me closer to my community. - University of Oregon


Frank Warren, creator of popular blog PostSecret presented at Towson Wednesday, Nov. 16, courtesy of the Campus Activities Board. Warren was one speaker featured during Towson’s Love is Louder week, a national anti-bullying campaign.

Towerlight: When did you start PostSecret? What was going through your head when you did?

Frank Warren: The blog started in February of 2005. My whole life, I felt that I had this rich interior life of inside jokes and sexual thoughts and hopes and fears. And I thought if other people could trust me with their hidden lives, it could breed a real special thing and place. It started to work. What surprised me most was the reaction people had to it. The first month on the Web, there were millions of visitors from around the world. So that’s been the most gratifying part: the fact that people trust me with their secrets and there’s been a great reaction to it.

TL: How many secrets do you receive now?

FW: I receive about 100 every day.

TL: How do you determine which secrets are placed on the website?

FW: It’s kind of a gut feeling. I get about 500-800 a week. I look for secrets I haven’t seen before, a new voice, a kind of fresh representation for a secret. I always focus a lot on the composition of all 20. It’s really important to me that each week there’s a secret that’s funny or shocking or hopeful or sexual or heartbreaking. I try to arrange the secrets so there’s cohesiveness, that there are connections between the secrets. They’re more than just the sum of their parts, there’s this larger conversation amongst all of our secrets.

TL: Do you mean you organize them by subject matter, or does it go beyond that?

FW: Subject matter can be a part of it, but also literary techniques, a set up and a punch line, or a juxtaposition of subject matter, maybe cinematic techniques of visual ideas connecting the secrets. It can be a number of kinds of connections, starting with subject, but it can also just be the color of the card, or maybe one card has a top half of a person above it, and the second card has legs, so there’s this visual connection that’s kind of shocking.

TL: What’s healthy about sharing secrets?

FW: I think it can be cathartic for the person who shares the secret with themselves first and takes ownership of it with words and sharing it. It can be a first step to talking about your secrets or your fears with a spouse, a brother, a sister, a girlfriend, a counselor. I also think it allows other people to feel less alone and more empathy with whatever secrets they may have.

TL: Does contributing to PostSecret encourage open communication? It is anonymous, but does it help people on their journeys?

FW: I hope so. I think of the project as an art project, a community art project. But people have told me that they have a sense of relief or unburdening in their secrets, by taking ownership of it, putting it on a postcard, and physically letting it go. There’s something empowering about that ritual.

TL: What service do you think PostSecret offers its readers and those who send postcards in to you?

FW: I think it’s another option people have to tell their story and bear their secret. I’m not trying to displace anyone: a counselor or a family member or a priest. But somebody wants to share a secret anonymously. I think that can be a powerful first step in finding that journey to take you where you need to be.

TL: Do people confide in you personally at these presentations? Do you have people come and talk to you face-to -face? How does that feel?

FW: Yes. It can be pretty overwhelming. Sometimes, people have a very strong emotional experience with the project, with the website, or the books, or with the PostSecret event. Sometimes they project it onto me, how they felt about this stranger who shared a secret. And so it’s challenging sometimes to live up to what I think people want me to be.

TL: Do all types of people come to you and approach you, like college students, the elderly, adults?

FW: All kinds of people do, for sure, but I would say the majority are young people. I think more women than men. I think part of that has to do with the Web being so popular, so college students are aware of it and share it with their friends a lot more. But I also think young people are more interesting. They’re kind of in the midst of searching for their identity in a way, and an adult might feel locked in and boxed in to a certain role. And young people, too, I believe are more sincere in that search of what’s true and what’s bullshit.

TL: What are the differences in the secrets young people share compared to ones older individuals share? Is there an obvious difference?

FW: I think there is a developmental life of our secret selves. The secrets that you share when you’re a pre-teen aren’t the same kind of secrets that weigh heavy on you when you’re in your 40s or 50s, when your child is leaving for college, for example. There a - The Towerlight, (Towson University), Jeremy Bauer-Wolf


Frank Warren is entrusted with one of the most challenging tasks on earth: he is the keeper of hundreds of thousands of personal secrets from strangers worldwide.
But his task is not to keep those secrets to himself, rather, to share them and let others learn and grow from their experiences.
Warren described the secrets as being “full of mystery and wonder,” their mystique still not fully known to him. Though his role as secret keeper hasn’t illuminated their power, he did share his own secret with the audience.
“Maybe the real reason I started [PostSecret] is because I had secrets of my own. Only through strangers’ secrets could I face the darkness in my own life,” he said.
In his presentation, Warren shared the history of PostSecret, secrets banned from his books and allowed audience members to share their own secrets.
He began his project five years ago by simply handing postcards to strangers in Washington D.C. and asking them to decorate them, share a secret and mail them back to him. He received a few strange looks from those first few strangers.
Soon after he began PostSecret online, it grew almost virally, exceeding even Warren’s own expectations.
His little startup now gets more than seven million visitors per week and Warren’s home is inundated with more than 100 to 200 postcards per day, some of those submissions more unusual than others.
“If you can imagine it and it’s mail-able I’ve probably pulled it out of my mailbox,” he said.
Some of the most interesting secrets he has received came on fruits, vegetables, fast food bags, a one-pound coffee bag and even Polaroid’s of naked people.
Warren shared these stories with a lighthearted nature and a gentle tone. His kind demeanor and levity made Braden Auditorium feel much more intimate than its cavernous size would indicate.
Though Warren interjected humor throughout his speech, he came with a serious message to share with the audience. He emphasized the importance of recognizing the signs of depression and ways to prevent suicide. He presented personal experiences and tips that could help those in attendance save a life of a loved one in such dire circumstances.
Laura Blaskey, a senior English education major, attended Warren’s program. She commented on how impressed she was by the presentation as a whole.
“I knew about the books but I wasn’t really familiar with them. I don’t know what I was expecting. I knew people would tell secrets but I didn’t think they would be that open about it,” she said. “I was really surprised at how people who didn’t really know anyone there would tell that big of secrets. I guess I was just expecting small stuff like, ‘I stole this,’ but it was really personal stuff.”
During the audience participation several students eagerly stepped up to the microphone to share their deepest, most guarded secrets.
The confessions ranged from tales of sexual abuse, to issues with parents and one brave student even admitted he had lived in a closet for years, which made his dorm room seem enormous.
Blaskey summed up the feelings of the audience quite well. “There were some that really hit home, I was surprised they had the courage to go up and say some of the things that I couldn’t,” she said.
The whole evening felt quite special in large part to Warren’s open and accepting attitude. That perspective was quickly spread throughout the crowd, who cheered loudly for each personal secret shared.
At the end of the evening Warren admitted despite doing countless shows, he still didn’t completely know how to close the evening. He skipped providing any cliché quotes or maxims, rather he chose to encourage the crowd to continue the dialogue outside the event, and to keep sharing their secrets with others. Most importantly he urged those in attendance not to leave what was said in Braden Auditorium.
“One thing we should never forget are the inspiring and courageous secrets that were shared,” he said. “The very act of sharing a secret can be transformative. It can change a person.” - Vidette Online, Illinois State, By Chris D. Davies


LOS ANGELES – Five hours till show time and already a line has formed outside Bovard Auditorium – waiting for Frank.
People have skipped work, ditched classes and driven hours to watch him sit on a stool and, basically, read his mail.
He is an anti-hero, an everyman, a regular Joe with a regular job – and now a modern-day rock star.
"I don't have any artistic training or background," he likes to say. In fact, for the past 20 years, he's run a document delivery business back in Germantown, Maryland.
"It's lucrative but monotonous," he says. "At work, I fantasized about weekend art projects I'd do."
One project in 2004 changed his life. Since then, Frank-the-document-delivery-guy has attracted 185 million viewers to his weblog. He's authored four best-selling books. He's launched a traveling art museum and now he sells out college auditoriums on national speaking tours.
It's almost show time. The mood is electric. An overflow crowd of more than 1,200 people have squeezed into the USC auditorium.
Why? Because Frank Warren collects secrets. And over the next two hours, he will share them: revelations of abuse, infidelity, sexual hang-ups, shame, regrets, humiliation, heroism and humor.
There will be tears. Hugs. Cheers. Laughter. And pangs of recognition.
"Never forget," he says, "we all have a secret that would break your heart if you knew what it was."
Then he asks audience members to step forward to a microphone and tell their own secrets. In public.
And they do.
POSTCARDS
This all started as a bit of a lark.
In preparation for a local art show, Frank left 3,000 postcards in pizza parlors, bookstores and Washington, D.C., subways that read: "Send Frank a secret."
Ha, ha. Art.
He got a few hundred replies, which he displayed at his booth. But the postcards kept coming – from places like China, Australia and Tupelo, Mississippi.
Their messages ranged from: I am secretly involved with my best friend's wife. To: Everyone who knew me before 9-11 believes I'm dead.
More than mere voyeurism, they reflected hidden truths. Which resonated. So in January 2005, Frank posted a handful on a small weblog. He called it "PostSecret."
"I realized I'd tapped into something full of mystery and wonder," he says. "I wasn't the leader of this project anymore, but a follower."
He was struck by the courage and vulnerability of people who wrote: I'm 50 years old and I'm a virgin … but I've met someone special so I'm hoping...
And: The last time I got a Valentine was 20 years ago.
And: Even though it will ruin all of my future plans, I am trying to get pregnant so that he can't leave me.
These gave him the strength to confront the most humiliating event of his childhood. He knew he'd have to reveal his own dark secret – to the world.
ANYTHING GOES
Each week, another 1,000 postcards land in Frank's mailbox. And another million people visit PostSecret.com. He's appeared in the New York Times, on Fox News and on the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Yet he still runs the whole thing from home.
"People mail their secrets directly to my house, not a post office box," he says. "I read each one. I keep them too. It's a very personal project."
He's turned down untold thousands in advertising dollars, making PostSecret.com the largest ad-free blog in the world.
"I felt by not having ads, it was treating these secrets with a greater degree of dignity and respect," he says.
Similarly, there are almost no on-line comments. The postcards seem to float in a stark void of black. It is that very non-judgmental nature of the site, Frank believes, that encourages people to bare their souls. To tell the truth.
Are there any secrets he refuses to post?
"No. Anything goes," he says – even one that claimed another man is serving prison time for a crime the letter-writer committed.
"I think every secret mailed to me was kept secret for a reason. It wasn't politically correct. Or it was hurtful or obscene or offensive. That's why it's a secret. When you come to the site, you don't want to see edited secrets, you want to see the real, raw, even offensive parts of people's lives."
"People respond to that sense of authenticity," he adds. "It's so rare anyplace else in our culture."
It's one thing for people to share the darkest corners of their souls in anonymity. But would it work in public? Frank decided to find out.
WALLS AND BRIDGES
Last year, he launched a college campus tour, which recently came to USC.
He starts by showing several postcards on a screen. Some bring laughter: You called me an idiot so I sent your bags to another destination. Oops – I guess you were right.
Some bring silence: 15 years ago I gave up a baby for adoption. One ye - OC Register, By Tom Berg and Christine Won


In a darkened hall, a shaky-voiced student confessed she had cut herself for four years of her life to an audience of more than 1,000 last night.
This secret was just one of dozens revealed, prompted by Frank Warren, the creator of PostSecret and the last speaker of the semester in the Distinguished Speaker Series. "Courage like that is contagious," Warren said of the student.
PostSecret is a community art project in which people write their secrets on postcards and mail in to be posted online.
"Everyone has a secret that would break your heart if you knew," Warren said. "But if you just thought about that, I think there would be more understanding, more compassion, more peace in the world."
Warren, sometimes called the most "trusted stranger in America," encouraged audience members to share their secrets so as to focus on the "frailty and heroism in all of our lives, [that] often goes unnoticed."
Another student revealed she is taking anti-depressants, something only one of her friends knows.
"I don't want it to be wrong," the student said. "I don't want to feel bad about it."
Taking a different tone, one student detailed a story from her childhood. She found an open condom wrapper on the floor of her mother's bedroom.
"I yelled at her for eating candy in bed," she said to laughter.
One student said she wrote a few postcards to send to Warren, but had left them in the West Dining Hall, asking the audience if anyone had found them. The crowd turned their heads when a shout from the back of the room called, "I did!"
The discoverer of the postcards said she left them there for others to read. Warren said the community sharing will then continue.
Before the community confessions, Warren showed pictures of postcards that were banned from his books.
One secret described the power of kindness. Every time the author worked up enough courage to swallow pills, someone did something to make the person want to live.
"I've never said thank you for saving my life. People have no idea how far kindness can go, I'm LIVING PROOF," the postcard read.
Other postcards revealed laughter-inducing secrets.
"I like to watch Dr. Phil," a postcard stated. "Drunk."
Warren said one of the postcards that has most affected him is about a secret revealing the author's bout in a mental ward.
"When I was in a mental ward I would look out the window a lot," the postcard read. Now released from the ward, the author rides by that same window on a bike and smiles.
"Sometimes it touches your soul -- this one is mine," Warren said about the postcard.
Warren said he could relate to this secret on a personal level.
"Children broken by the world become the adults most likely to change it," Warren said.
He said the secrets revealed through PostSecret show how every person has a remarkable story to tell.
"How extraordinary our lives are just underneath the surface," Warren said.
Lastly, Warren revealed his own secret to the audience. In fourth grade, a group of boys pushed him to the ground, held his eyelids open, and spit into his eyes repeatedly.
"Free you secrets and become who you are," he said as he ripped up his personal postcard to a standing ovation. - The Daily Collegian (Penn State), By Elizabeth Murphy


We all have our secrets. What we do with those secrets, however, is up to us. In Frank Warren’s words, we should “share our secrets like gifts,” and because of his PostSecret community art project, people are doing just that.

Five years ago in Washington D.C., Warren printed 3,000 blank postcards and set out on a journey to encourage people to share their secrets. He would simply approach a stranger and say, “Hi, my name is Frank, and I collect secrets.”

I don’t know about you, but if I had been one of those people who he walked up to, I would have quickened my step out of there. He himself admitted that it was a crazy idea, but “he had faith in it.” Luckily, and to Warren’s own surprise, people took these postcards and plastered them with their innermost thoughts and feelings, turning what they previously thought of as burdens into artwork by sending them to who is now the “most-trusted person in America.”

Warren was shocked that this idea of PostSecret spread virally, even after he stopped sending out the postcards. “I had tapped into something that had been there the whole time, something full of wonder, something that I am thankful for,” he said.
He has now received more than 300,000 anonymous secrets, has two traveling art exhibits, four published books, has raised over $1.5 million for the National Hopeline Network and is now on his 2009 PostSecret Event Tour, where he is visiting numerous college campuses. UR was one of those lucky campuses last Thursday.

From the moment he stepped on stage, Warren made this night about us as he walked out holding up his phone, recording the eager faces and clapping hands. His attempts to relate to the Rochester community created whoops and cheers as he mentioned our beloved Dinosaur BBQ, and with me being from Syracuse, its original hometown, I was certainly a participant in the applause. Not only did he try to make our night one to remember, but we made his night memorable as well as he realized that people from hours and hours away were there to hear what he had to say.

Warren began to share with us a mixture of his experiences with his project and some secrets themselves that elicited laughs, serious silence, mouths gaped in shock and heavy hearts. Some of the more lighthearted ones that really kept everyone laughing included stories like students smuggling in delicious grilled cheese sandwiches to his event, something I am familiar with doing. He had our emotions in the palm of his hand as he went back and forth between words of wisdom, comedic and grave secrets and stories that went from humorless to hilarious.

To avoid feeling too preachy — for he certainly had a bag full of Frankisms — he jumped into “the banned secrets” that his publisher HarperCollins did not allow in the books. The audience readjusted themselves in their seats to prepare for something with such an “off-limits” aura in such a sensitive realm. Before his display of secrets, he declared, “There’s censorship in this country and it’s insidious and done by large retailers. Wal-Mart censors movies, books, art and music and has never carried a PostSecret book, and I’m proud that they won’t carry this next one either.” A symphony of nodding heads and cheers followed this prideful declaration against the ever-controversial corporation. He also disclosed his belief that “suicide is America’s secret,” and I believe that Warren is a reliable-enough source to make such a statement, which caused everyone to take a second breath.

I was at first disappointed when he started thanking the Campus Activities Board and applauding us as he made what sounded like closing remarks, such as, “I truly believe the power and poignancy comes from your voice.” I thought I had remembered my ticket saying it ended at 9 p.m., rather than 8 p.m. But then, all of sudden, he said, “This is the part where I never know what is going to happen.” I didn’t know what was going to happen either.

Warren told a student to whom he had given a book earlier on to open it and read what it said inside: “The world needs to hear your voice.” It was now our turn to become a part of the PostSecret revolution. After a few minutes of pondering and a slightly uncomfortable (for me at least) meet and greet with our neighbors, students began to bravely approach the microphones, but caused disappointed sighs when they began to ask questions rather than tell secrets.

However, I knew that the lines that were forming were going to hold those brave souls who were ready to be heard. A young man was first to utter the words: “I just wanted to share my secret.”

I dropped my pen and notepad and joined in the deserved applause for the young man who turned a decent talk into a night to remember by disclosing a childhood of abuse. After he shook Warren’s hand and left the auditorium, Warren said, “I wish I could thank him for being a hero.”

Tears were streaming down my face by this point and continued on as unforgettable s - Campus Times (University of Rochester), By Carley Parsons


"I think it's natural to want to hide from the parts of our life that we find confusing or painful, but if we do they'll haunt us forever," the man behind the PostSecret phenomenon told an audience at DePauw University. Frank Warren receives 1,000 postcards a week containing the secrets of strangers and posts the messages on a popular blog and in bestselling books. He says, "If instead we can find the courage to face those parts of our life, maybe through being inspired by other people's stories, we might be surprised to discover a deeper meaning personally for ourselves and a higher purpose in serving others by maybe sharing our life stories with them.”
Warren, whose PostSecret.com is the third most popular blog on the Internet, delivered the Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture in the Green Center for the Performing Arts' Kresge Auditorium. He described how what began as a regional art project in the Washington, D.C. area three years ago has led to a Web site which has received more than 100 million "hits" and hosts over 3 million visitors every month, has spawned four New York Times bestselling books and has resulted in more than 190,000 secrets being sent in from around the globe. PostSecret is also the subject of current art exhibitions in Baltimore and Canada.
At first, Warren handed out blank postcards in the nation’s capital and invited strangers to jot down a secret and mail the card to him. They trickled in, a few a week. Some are humorous, others are introspective or deeply personal and dark. Today, he receives 1,000 secrets each week at his home address (13345 Copper Ridge Road, Germantown, MD 20874), and he reads every one. Each Sunday night, he posts 20 selected cards on his blog.
"PostSecret has become much more than the sum of its parts," the concept's founder told the audience, which was dominated by DePauw students. "The collection of secrets really almost to me seems like a conversation, not just between the postcards and us, but between the secrets themselves."
Warren says "certain patterns and trends" have emerged in the piles of postcards that have arrived in his mailbox (he has kept each one, incidentally). “And one of the things I’ve noticed is that I think America has a secret. I receive a lot of secrets about eating disorders, self-harm, suicide, and I don't think you see that reflected in the American culture," he said. "I think if you look at national newspapers or if you watch your local television news you'll see story after story about murders or homicides but very few about suicides. When the fact is, in this country, in the short amount of time I've been talking there's been one murder but two Americans have taken their own lives." Warren and visitors to his blog have raised more than $100,000 for the prevention hotline (800) SUICIDE.
The founder of PostSecret believes there are secrets we hide from other people as well as secrets we hide from ourselves. Sharing them anonomously can relieve a burden for the sender and allow those who read the secret to realize the problems, fears and concerns they have are indeed shared by others. The cards come from addresses that span the globe.
“One of the messages that comes through this project is not the differences between our secrets, but the surprising similarities that tie us together at a deeper level, that you can see through these artistic documents," he says. "It's not unusual for me to get two postcards on the same day from two different continents, written in two different languages, expressing the same desire, or the same fear, or the same hope -- driving home that message about others, this greater unity just underneath all these individual secrets."
PostSecret.com accepts no advertising. Warren says he largely relies on the income from the medical documents business that he has owned for years to pay his bills, and worries commercializing his site would undermine and perhaps destroy the very personal connections that millions of people draw from the cards he posts weekend.
"I usually go through secrets looking for ones that I haven't seen before; secrets that surprise me," he revealed to his DePauw audience. "And I also like secrets that perhaps reveal a common secret that a lot of us share but express it in a new or creative way."
Warren, who ranks #14 on a Forbes list of the 25 biggest, brightest and most influential people on the Internet, has been called "the most trusted stranger in America." He expressed hope that the Web can increasingly become a tool to bring people together in virtual communities. "It allows you the opportunity to have new kinds of conversations with people -- people you know and people you've never met."
He offered, PostSecret was a very simple idea. And I think there are thousands, or tens of thousands of other ideas - DePauw University News, November 26, 2007


In grade school, a whisper to another classmate elicited the response “secrets don’t make friends.”
Frank Warren is the exception to that rule.
Throughout his five-year career as the creator of the popular “PostSecret Project,” Warren has been sent thousands upon thousands of secrets as a part of his project. These post-mailed secrets have covered just about every topic from past guilt to sexual deviancy, and are published in his books and on his online blog.
As a prelude to his Wednesday night presentation at Braden Auditorium, Warren held a question and answer session in the afternoon to the delight of the dozens of students, faculty and community members in attendance.
“It was fun to see a variety of folks [come to the question and answer session],” Cheryl Elzy, the dean of University Libraries, said. “We had everything from seniors to students here and younger than that.”
While Warren stated at the beginning of the session that he does not regularly conduct question and answer sessions, he added that there were no bounds on the session and that attendees could ask him anything.
From the science behind how his published secrets are selected to questions about his personal secrets and whether he still owns all the secrets that have been mailed to him, Warren faced a multitude of different emotional queries during the hour-long session.
“I think he sends a message to students that there’s someone out there listening, that there’s a fun side, a secret side, an emotional side, a place that’s listening,” Elzy said. “I like the fact that he has both books and the Web site and it’s an outlet for whatever you want to say.”
The question and answer session had particularly special meaning for one woman in attendance. Her current fiancé sent a secret to Warren about his courtship of her before they began dating that was published in one of his books. After asking Warren a question, she happily told that story of how the secret helped her end up with her fiancé.
On a lighter note, after Warren talked about the volume of secrets sent about urinating in the shower, another woman in attendance told the crowd that she urinates in the shower, and gave the reasoning for her secret.
“I’ve read a couple of the [PostSecret] books. I think it’s pretty intriguing,” Alyssa Heintzelman-Ruzek, a senior Spanish and politics and government major, said. “It was interesting to see, in person, the guy that put this together.”
Even though he had made a career out of finding out others’ secrets, Warren shared a secret of his own, which he slipped in his latest book, “Before I can use a public urinal I’ve to spit into it, I don’t know why, I just do.”
And even though “secrets don’t make friends” in primary school, Warren created a special bond with those in Milner library on Wednesday afternoon through secrets.
- Vidette Online, April 8, 2010, By Philip P. Lasseigne


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Bio

Frank Warren is the sole founder and curator of the PostSecret Project: A collection of over 500,000 highly personal and artfully decorated postcards mailed anonymously from around the world, displaying the soulful secrets we never voice. The website for PostSecret is the largest advertisement-free blog in the world.

Warren's first book, PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives (ReganBooks) is a New York Times best-seller. He followed it up with My Secret: A PostSecret Book, The Secret Lives of Men and Women: A PostSecret Book, and his most recent, A Lifetime of Secrets. In 2009, he released a PostSecret book focusing on religion and spirituality, PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God, which reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list.
The PostSecret website has received over 600 million hits and PostSecret postcards have been exhibited in various museums ranging from the American Visionary Art Museum to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The website has received numerous awards for its community contribution, which include a special award from the National Mental Health Association for raising awareness and over $1 million US toward suicide prevention, seven Webby Awards, and six Weblog Awards including their “Hall of Fame” and “Lifetime Achievement” awards.
Warren was born in Arizona and went to high school in Illinois. He later graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in social science and moved to the Washington, DC area to start a business.
Warren has appeared on the Today Show, 20/20, CNN, MSNBC, CBC, NPR, and Fox News. USA Today called Warren, “An award-winning blogger, a first-time author, an artist with a traveling exhibit, a possible documentary subject, the inspiration for a music video and the all-around media ‘it’ boy of the moment.” In 2009, Forbes magazine listed him as the number four most popular “web celeb,” behind celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, tech blogger Michael Arrington, and Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.com.
In 2005, The All American Rejects approached Warren about using images of actual PostSecret images in their Dirty Little Secret music video. They offered Warren $1,000 but instead he asked them to donate $2,000 to 1(800) SUICIDE where Warren is a volunteer. The donation was made and the music video became one of the most requested on MTV.
Warren continues to receive between 100 and 200 postcards everyday. He updates his website on Sundays and is working to produce a sixth PostSecret book. Warren, his wife and his daughter call Germantown, Maryland home. He continues to call himself an “accidental artist” because he has no artist background or training. “I have been asked many times why I started this. It still feels to me as though this project found me. All I try to do is make the right decisions every day to protect the integrity of the project – and learn to trust the journey.