Monday, August 16, 2010

PostSecret Community Picnic

I’ve been a long-time fan of the PostSecret blog. As long as I can remember, I have been checking the site every Sunday, eager to see what had been posted for that week. Every single secret is touching in its own way, but there were some that have resonated with me more than others over the years. One of these is a card I believe was posted in August 2006: “We’re all more alike than I ever could have imagined.” After attending this year’s PostSecret Picnic, I couldn’t help but think about that card.

Let me start by saying that I am not an active member of the online PostSecret community – I’m a pretty shy person, even in an online setting, and I never had the courage to ever post anything on the message boards. I knew that the picnic was for the community members, so I was apprehensive about attending – what if I have no one to talk to? What if I can’t think of anything to say? What if I can’t find anything in common with anyone there? Despite my nerves, I looked forward to attending – worst case scenario, it would be an uncomfortable afternoon and I would be able to go home afterward and move on.

After being at the picnic for awhile, however, I quickly realized I should not have been so worried. What I love most about PostSecret is its ability to bring thousands of strangers together in one great community. This picnic was just a small cross-section of that enormous group, but we definitely all had at least one thing in common – PostSecret. I talked to some of the attendees and swapped stories about postcards that carried extra meaning. PostSecret serves as a great icebreaker, and this shared interest led to conversations ranging from favorite band to darkest moments in life. Over the course of several hours, I could see that despite the differences between everyone who was there, we all really were more alike than I ever did imagine.

The talks by Frank, Reese and Casie were all great and led me to understand a bit more about PostSecret, Hopeline and the issues they deal with. However, it was my discussions with people there like me that affected me the most – recognizing myself in the stories of these strangers. It’s thanks to groups like the PostSecret community that we are able to realize how connected we all are.