Comparing and Contrasting PostSecret and Six-Word Memoir

PostSecret and Six-Word Memoir are both recent genres created within the past 10 years. They are part of the larger life narrative genre that can be argued to include the: novel, blogs, graphic novel, etc. However, both of these new genre’s a unique approach to life narrative, as they are bite sized and only show a glimpse of someone’s life. Perhaps this makes it more easier for us to relate to them, as we can identify with a part of a person without all the complicated backstory. I am interested in the differences and similarities in these two genres and how they can serve different purposes. I will look at specifically at the time frame in these genres and the voices that get published.

In PostSecret the posts are updated every seven days with 20 new ones. On Six-Word Memoir the writer can post any six words and they are uploaded instantaneously. Then while Six-Word Memoir keeps the posts up forever, PostSecret deletes them after a seven days. What this allows is for PostSecret readers to focus on a few posts for a week, almost like a blog, and Six-Word Memoir readers get instant updates like twitter. PostSecret readers get to meditate on the issues that people are presenting throughout their autobiographies, and Six-Word Memoir readers consume mass amounts on info and then respond individually to the writer as there is a username system in place.

Something that I hadn’t thought of before was that PostSecret is really biased and subjective. Frank Warren receives hundreds of PosSecrets every week, yet he some how chooses only twenty to go up to the site. This is problematic because he is constructing an identity for PostSecret unlike Six-Word Memoir which is user generated. By limiting what goes on to the site he creates a perception of what counts as real secret and what doesn’t. The impact of PostSecret is important on the writers of the published, but what happens to the other nine hundred and eighty writers? Do they get relief? Compare this to Six-Word Memoir that let’s everyone’s posts to go up, and they have a forum for people to engage with the writer.

To the question of: Which one is superior?

It depends on what the submitter’s goals are. If it is to confess and move forward than PostSecret is the ideal platform as individual’s posts are highlighted for seven days in an uncluttered form. Six-word memoir is more for self representation and sharing with a wider community. With it users can share stories that they create that can relate to their lives, but not necessarily as vidid and raw like post secret. It doesn’t have as strict of a mandate and therefore can be more creative and serve more purposes.

Six-Word Memoirs have become a powerful tool to catalyze conversation, spark imagination or simply break the ice. – About Six-Word Memoir

The last message from “reluctant oracle” bore the message, “You will find your answers in the secrets of strangers.” The next Sunday the PostSecret began. – Frank Warren

In the end its impossible to say that any genre is better than the other. They both serve different purposes, but they do have similarities by being online and (semi)anonymous. They both have pros and cons, and that is important to remember.

One thought on “Comparing and Contrasting PostSecret and Six-Word Memoir

  1. I found it really interesting how you chose to differentiate between the two sites. After our presentations, I saw the uncanny resemblance between the two sites as a site of life narrative. If Post-Secret counts as an autobiography, it is rather odd that the power of when and where it is posted is no longer in the hands of the writer. That being said, I do not entirely agree with your idea of Post-Secret being “really biased and subjective”. Yes, Frank Warren chooses which secrets are displayed, but that does not change the content that he is given. The secrets themselves (which are the core of Post-Secret) are still written by the people and not by Frank Warren. He cannot physically change what they have written – the original posters intent is still there; therefore, the “identity” still belongs to the poster. Jack Warren is only responsible for creating a theme, or more specifically the genre in which they fall under. He reinforces that structure, but does not technically impede with the poster’s self-expression.

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