PostSecret, the beloved weekly blog that allows anyone to anonymously share a postcard containing a personal secret, has launched an iPhone app that expands the project out onto the social and mobile Web. In addition to viewing the regular Sunday Secrets - the physical postcards - featured on PostSecret.com, users can create and share digital secrets and browse them by time and location.
The idea of broadcasting your darkest secrets across the Internet might sound counter-intuitive, but the app does an amazing job of reassuring users of their privacy and security. Not only has PostSecret built a heartfelt, loving application, it has raised the privacy bar for app developers everywhere.
Keeping a Secret
If you choose to save a list of your secrets on your phone, which you don't have to do, it's password-protected. You can connect to Facebook or Twitter to share links to interesting secrets you discover, but the social settings page reassures you that the services "are never connected in any way to secrets that you submit." The introductory splash screen says that users' identity, location and secrets will never be connected to one another. The app won't even know your name.
The app was designed in partnership with Bonobo Labs, and it takes the familiar iPhone tropes for social photo apps and makes them its own.
An Intimate Experience
The navigation is familiar, but the textures and fonts are dark and soothing. The graphics are a lot to take in at first; the map view is especially hard to navigate and slow to respond. But this app extends the comfortable touch of the barebones Blogger-powered PostSecret website into an intimate touchscreen experience.
Another aspect of the PostSecret project enhanced by the app is commenting. On the weekly blog, Frank Warren, PostSecret's creator, curates some email comments regarding individual secrets and inserts them between images, often setting up interesting - if artificial - dialogues. Now, with the app, readers can engage in threaded discussions on each secret, but comments are posted as their own secrets, with the app's typography and one's own chosen background image.
This app enables people to air their deepest secrets and share them with one another, but it still maintains a safe space.
Update 11/12, 5:50 p.m.: The app's performance can be pretty slow, but Warren says there's an update coming soon. There's also a key feature missing; you can't yet view replies to your own secrets. But Warren reassures us: "We think that is an important feature too, and it will be included in the first update due out this week."
Strength in Sharing Secrets
Warren has published the sites most beautiful secrets in books, and he speaks publicly about the power of the project. According to the blog, within 24 hours of its launch, the PostSecret app became the #1 best-selling App in the U.S. and Canada.
Do you read PostSecret?