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27 Jun

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Why J.K. Rowling is Mistress of Social Media Magic

June 27, 2011 | By | No Comments

I’m officially in love with, in awe of, and in wonder at Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Fans are big-time buzzing about the soon-to-be launched Pottermore, a free online experience in which users will “share, participate in, and rediscover the stories,” according to a video recently posted by the author on the site’s home page.

Here’s why Rowling is the Mistress of Social Media Magic:

  • Unique content. In the video message, which is also posted on YouTube, she says she’s been hoarding Potter material for years and now plans to share it on the community. Like any of the great fantasies, whether it’s Star Wars or Doctor Who, part of the story’s appeal is the mythology. The lure of “secret” content is bound to attract fans.

The author also reports users will have exclusive access to the Potter series in an e-book format, which is something e-reader devotees have wanted for years but that Rowling has famously refused to do before now.

  • Address concerns. She says, “The digital generation will be able to enjoy a safe…online experience.” Any parent clued into how easy it is for kids to be exposed to unsavory users and content online understands the value of a “safe” experience. While there are no guarantees when it comes to online safety, as a parent her statement gives me some assurance that the site won’t morph into an expletive-laden free-for-all.
  • The lure of anticipation. While the community doesn’t launch until October, a few fans will gain access to the site before then to help shape the experience. In her message, Rowling invites fans to check back on July 31st, when she’ll reveal how select users will get the chance to enter Pottermore early. (David Meerman Scott also wrote about Rowling’s use of “The secret will soon be revealed” marketing.)

The books already boast a built-in social aspect—think of the Potter parties that spring up during book and movie releases. What are your thoughts on Rowling’s big magical entrance into a branded online community?

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