Why People Are Confessing Their Secrets In Public

We all have secrets. Some are big, some are small, some scandalous and some not so exciting. And sometimes, you just need to get them off your chest. Now, for a week in September, commuters at Brighton Station can do just that. As part of the Brighton Digital Festival, a digital version of Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall will display anonymous messages submitted by people waiting at the station. Kind of like a real-life version of secret-sharing app Whisper, instead of showing the usual arrival and departure times, ‘The Waiting Wall’ displays messages from the public, revealing their deepest – and sometimes darkest – secrets.

The brainchild of musician and software developer Alan Donohoe and designer Steven Parker, The Waiting Wall was inspired by author and philosopher Alain de Botton’s idea of transforming Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall into something we can all use as a way of showing that “none of us are alone in the extent of our troubles”.

The duo believed that waiting – for someone or something, like a train – gives people time to reflect. “This can be uncomfortable or it can be a blessing: a break from rushing around where we are never quite alone with our thoughts. Let worries, regrets and hopes bubble to the surface. Anonymously share them with the wall so we can all find consolation from the fact that none of us are alone in our private world of innermost feelings.”

So what have people been sharing? Well, it’s pretty emotional stuff, ranging from parental guilt to unrequited love, but there’s also some rather empowering revelations up there too. You can watch all of the messages online, and even submit your own, but be warned, you’ll end up whiling away an entire afternoon on there.