Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli

Disclaimer: Just to make it clear: this is not going to be a fan report gushing over the Harry Potter books or fandom.What I will say though, is that the Harry Potter books and fandom would not have been nearly as successful if not for social media.Melissa Anelli, a New York based former reporter and now full-time author, has presented a factual, open-minded story of her time in the fandom. Through the book an accidental secondary story is told, that is the development of social media. Anelli’s story starts with her discovering late (just before the release of book 4 in July 2000) to being the webmistress of the most professional and highly regarded fansite; co-host of the lost listened to Harry Potter podcast; and for the media, the voice of the fandom. She has interviewed series author, JK Rowling several times and is called on by the publishers and movie studios for a fan’s view.The social media story is given dedicated chapters but treated as incidental Anelli’s own story. There is the chapter on wizard rock, the music genre started by fans writing and recording songs about the series and uploading them to MySpace. Others detailing web forums connecting young teen operators of the early fansites after Warner Bros sent cease and desist letters and also enabling the fans to unite and run an international campaign that lead to Warner Bros having a more collaborative approach to the fans; and Anelli’s own story of her launching PotterCast, her weekly podcast, in August 2006. Just after Apple added podcasts to the iTunes store.To many, social media, two-way communications and user-generated content are new “inventions”. To those in the Harry Potter fandom, these are long established tools. Harry, a History is a history of social media and its growth. I recommend reading it, not for the fandom or book series, but to understand the development and practical uses of social media. Even in the last couple of months since this book has been released the fans are using newer tools like YouTube, Twitter and vlogs. To catch up on how the fandom is using social media, check out the links below.Harry, a History Harry, a History at Dymocks online store Leaky Cauldron – Anelli’s fansite PotterCast – the podcast

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