What are your secrets? – End of the Day for May 20, 2014

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Your secrets — and the secrets you hold for others — holds an immense amount of power. They can color our lives and cause us to act in irrational ways. They can make us hide away or instead drive us on to create things in an effort to overcome them. You might think that in this day and are of non-privacy, secrets would no longer hold their power, but no one ever truly knows everything about the person next to them, even if they have known each other for decades. There are still secrets locked within. Some are withheld willfully, while other secrets are held only by omission. Short of writing an autobiography, very few people ever tell the entire story of their lives. Even autobiographical writers pick and choose the best, least offensive, or in some cases, most offensive memories to share.


We are poor judges of our own secrets, though. We may dismiss some because we intellectually think they are simple and unimportant. We might be doing that only to hide from these secrets, though. By dismissing the importance of these secrets we can try to ignore the power they have over us to the present day. We don’t share thees secrets with others not because we think them unimportant, but rather because they reach to some deep core of our lives and it would be extremely painful to admit them to others.

The power of secrets can be seen a number of ways. For years, PostSecret has helped people share their secrets online through anonymous postcards. A selection of these secrets is posted each week on their web site. They also produce book collections of the postcards and hold live readings throughout the country. While it can be funny and tragic in turn to read these secrets, it has been seen that the act of sharing them has helped not only the holder of the secret, but also others who might be harboring a similar secret. In unburdening themselves, the original authors might be helping other ease their burden, too.

New mobile apps, Secret and Whisper, are providing a similar method of sharing secrets, but in a more technological and linked fashion. The mobile apps allow you share a secret, but also tell you if a secret was shared publicly or by own of your connected social media “friends”. This makes it easier to share your secrets, but I wonder about the true anonymity of it all. It seems the use of subpeonas  and other legal methods could break down those anonymous walls pretty quickly. Still, for those willing to risk this, they provide a new methods of unburdening themselves among a closer connection of friends while still remaining unknown for the most part.

Secret icon Whisper

Secret | Whisper

Why are secrets becoming more important now in the online world? I think that even with the overwhelmingly public lives we lead today, there are still those deep secrets we harbor. Even so, we still want to unburden ourselves of these secrets, even anonymously, if it will bring us some sense of release and relief. Sure, some secret sharing, especially online, is more bragging and burden, but I am sure there are those people who feel a sense of relief when they share their secret with others.

What heavy secrets do you carry with you every day? Would it do you good to share them with the world? Would it help to release the power they carry over you? I’m not sure, but it seems that there are many people who do feel this way and continue to share their secrets in ways both simple and technological.

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