Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Pottermore: the new face of social media sites

Social media sites have made the gradual progression from being a hobby to an almost essential form of communication. They have evolved from sites like Xanga to the much more popular Myspace, and then, to the nearly universal Facebook. Now, social media sites are branching off into niches of their very own.

Pottermore is a new type of social media site dedicated to exploring J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series. With the introduction of Pottermore to the social network agenda, a lot of new doors will be opened to the future of what social media sites have to offer.

Sarahlyn Hewitt, a local Potter enthusiast, is one of the one million lucky fans to gain early access to Pottermore. She defeated the Magical Quill challenge gaining her rightful place in the early access crowd. She strongly asserts that only the most dedicated fans would gain early access. With “Protego” (a spell from Harry Potter) tattooed across her back, Hewitt is a shining example of Rowling’s most devoted fans. With her early entry, Hewitt describes what others can look forward to on the magical social media site.

Many of the fans who found the Magical Quill have only just recently gained access to the site, and for many like Hewitt, the wait was long and stressful:

“Well I had been checking my e-mail everyday, as most of us were. I finally got online one day and saw that I had a new Pottermore e-mail,” Hewitt said. “It was unreal because I’d been waiting for like a month and a half at this point for my welcome letter to come. So, it was kind of shocking to actually see it in my inbox, addressed to me, saying that I could finally enter the website.”

One of the main things that Harry Potter fans are looking forward to once they gain access into Pottermore is the Sorting Hat quiz, in which the participant will be sorted into one of the four Hogwart’s houses, an absolute dream for many loyal fans. Hewitt described her sorting hat experience as surprising and revealing,

“Well the quiz was really short and simple, but I had a completely different house in my head throughout my entire Harry Potter life. So, when I was sorted into Slytherin and not Gryffindor I was appalled, because I’d always thought I’d be a Gryffindor. I guess this is because in the books they didn’t really tell you much about the houses. You just knew them in a rather shallow type of way. Ravenclaws are smart. Slytherins are evil. Gryffindors are brave. Hufflepuffs are just . . . loyal,” Hewitt said.

“So, you don’t really know anything about them except what the Sorting Hat song tells you. Pottermore allows you to see a side of Hogwarts’ houses that the books never have. Now that I’ve read all of this new information about Slytherin, I really could not be happier with my house. It really fits me perfectly.”

Besides the obligatory sorting, there are many other aspects to look forward to:

“The first thing that you notice when you get in is the graphics. They’re really amazing. They’re almost exactly like pictures in the book,” said Hewitt. “Nearly everything on the site is interactive. All over there are chances to find new or information objects, and to gain house points.”

She goes on to describe house pride and the dynamics of Pottermore as a social network:

“For the first time, you can watch the points of each house and you get to participate in gaining points for your house.”

In the series, you only knew the house points at the very end of each book, which made it rather hard to cheer for anyone besides Gryffindor. Pottermore allows you to actually follow the progress of each house’s points. By competing in games such as Potions and Duels, you can earn points for your house. You’re finally getting a little taste of what it’s like to attend Hogwarts, and you’re able to share it with all the other Potter fans from around the world.

She also describes how this competitive spirit is spreading to other social media sites:

“I’ve noticed personal blogs posting about supporting their house, and it’s really cool to see how it’s transferring over to other people getting into it and saying ‘This is my house and I’m really proud,” Hewitt said.

Another favorite for Potter fans is getting their wands:

“After the graphics, getting your wand is my favorite aspect of Pottermore. You take a quiz similar to when you get sorted, but the cool part about getting a wand is that there are so many different combinations. With all of the different types of wood that can get paired with the three cores you’re guaranteed a more personal result than when you are sorted,” Hewitt said. “Each wand has it’s own little meaning as to why it chose you based off the type of person that you are.”

Pottermore offers a site for Harry Potter fanatics to finally experience a bit of the magic they’ve read about since their childhoods. Finally, a chance to find out what house the Sorting Hat would sort them into, or what kind of wand would choose them. Pottermore not only offers new exclusive information from J.K. Rowling herself, but it also allows fans to connect with one another.

Pottermore says a lot about the direction of social media sites. First, it’s an example of the transition we may soon make from broad social networking sites such as Facebook to more specific sites based on individual interest. It also could mean that rather than having one account on a rather broad social media site, we will have many accounts on various sites each focusing on a different interest.

Right now, Pottermore is only available to those who found the Magic Quill, but it will be available to the rest of the public this October.

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