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Post Secret: Humanitarian art project, or exploiting the isolation of others?

I used to be a fan of the Post Secret site, and checked it weekly for a couple of years. I began to notice how many tours, books etc. the site's owner does, and I began to wonder. Is it an art project or just a way to make money from the isolation and pain of others and the voyeurism of the readers, while making the project's originator feel better about his own life? Sometimes I get this definite vibe of "look how important I am, I get mail from all over the world" from it. Is Frank shoring up his own self-esteem...and making money along the way.

I could be totally wrong and I hope I am.
Discuss.

I don't think it's exploitation--it's not as if Post Secret cultivates these secret pains to make money.  It just provides an outlet for them and a way of seeing that many of us deal with the same demons.  I think that the spirit of the project is sincere, and I don't see how having tours or books makes the project any less so.  Just because an endeavor becomes successful/profitable does not mean it has become corrupt. 

If it were exploitative, it would cause harm to the individuals who send in post cards.  If anything, it has the opposite effect for participants and readers. 

With regards to Frank's self esteem....well, who knows?  We don't really know him.  I don't really care if his self esteem gets a boost from his popularity.  Mine would.  That's pretty human!  I don't know if he does anything worthwhile with a portion of the profits (other than run the website), but it would be nice to know that he did.

People who send in secrets WANT them to be shown.  That's not exploitation.

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People who send in secrets WANT them to be shown.  That's not exploitation.

As long as they know and understand that he's going to use those secrets to make money.

I think exploitation is a strong word, but it's obviously become a money making endevor for him, what his true motivations are, one really doesn't know.

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People who send in secrets WANT them to be shown.  That's not exploitation.

As long as they know and understand that he's going to use those secrets to make money.

I think exploitation is a strong word, but it's obviously become a money making endevor for him, what his true motivations are, one really doesn't know.

Well, exactly, like you said, it's obvious that it's a money-making endeavor.  I guess I was assuming that most people knew that when they sent them in.  Like, "What, you were going to publish that?"  Well, yes, that's the point.

I just don't see why Post Secret evolving into a money-making endeavor makes it bad.  I mean, Vegnews is a money making endeavor as well.  Anything has to make money to thrive.  It's a perfectly honest business, to me.  I would send in a secret knowing that he will profit off it because it's not as if I stand to profit from keeping it, and I certainly don't lose anything.  Who cares?  

I guess I don't see what the issue is.  Should the people sending in the secrets be reimbursed?  That seems kind of silly to me.  The project wasn't their idea and people will willingly participate without incentive.

If it did not make money, it would not have the scope it has right now and we wouldn't even be talking about it.  

If I had a project like this, and had an opportunity to tour for it, or write a book about it, I certainly would!  I don't get mad at Isa Moskowitz or Colleen Patrick Goudreau for profiting from touring and writing books because I think their work contributes positively to the community.  Likewise here.

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