Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Harry Potter is like Social Media

After some thought and admittedly a marathon of Harry Potter movies, I came to the conclusion that there are quite a few parallels between the social media realm and the world of Hogwarts.

For starters, there are four major houses at Hogwarts and each has their own unique identity. Griffyndor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff compete throughout the school year to determine which school is the best.

The Gryffindor house is the home of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger so it is without question the most prolific house in the series. With that said, it is only logical that this house is representative of social networking sites. Facebook is the Harry Potter of this storry, MySpace is Ron and Twitter (yes, I lumped a microblogging site into social networking) is Hermione.

Hufflepuff's house values are "hard work, loyalty, tolerance, and fair play." When thinking about what these values represent, I can't stop thinking about the blogosphere. Blogs work together, develop networks and ensure a proper "hat-tipping" of shared content.

Ravenclaw is the least discussed of the four houses. For this reason, it seems most like photo sharing sites in the social media landscape. Photo sharing sites like Flickr, Snapfish, PhotoBucket and others are certainly power houses in social media, but are often left out of the conversation as a valuable marketing tool.

Finally, we are left with Slytherin, which is the house of Malfoy, Severus Snape and ofcoarse Valdemort. Given the crafty nature of these characters and the constant struggle for power that they endure, I can think of no better comparison than video sharing sites. Going to YouTube is like entering into a steele cage match for viewers. You can find the exact same video posted by five different people because they all want the viewers to visit their profile. There is no common courtesy of "hat-tipping" and no request to share content that isn't proprietary.

Just to recap, in my uber-nerdy mind I have drawn strong parallels between the social media world and Hogwarts--a mythical wizard school created by J.K. Rowling. The parallels are as follows:

  • Gryffindor--social networks
  • Hufflepuff--blogs
  • Ravenclaw--photo sharing sites
  • Slytherin--video sharing sites
There will certainly be more thoughts to come, but what do you think about all this nonsense?


Jackie Adkins on August 19, 2009 at 10:01 AM said...

I enjoyed the analogies you pulled and definitely think they fit. When you mentioned you were going to do a post on this, I had something else in mind. Here's the abbreviated version:

I pictured Hogwarts as social media in general. Harry Potter at first didn't even know it existed, and one day his world was rocked when Hagrid introduced it to him. Once he got there, he was overwhelmed by the magical nature of it (the revolving staircases, the banquets, etc.) As he spent more time there, he constantly learned how to take advantage of his time there. Some of what he learned was just by luck, pushing the limits of the rules and discovering new things. Other times he learned from others. Long story short, the more time he spent there, the more he was able to master his magic. Now, insert a business as a Harry Potter and social media as Hogwarts, and you have your analogy!

Jake Rosen on August 19, 2009 at 10:19 AM said...

Brilliant. I love it. Harry Potter can teach us so much.

It really is true that brands, companies, and individuals plan to step into the social media world without having realized the full magnitude of the world they are about to enter. Unfortunately, not everybody lands on their feet as well as Harry Potter did. In an effort to not lose credibility for your brand, I highly recommend developing a strategy before ever signing up for an account or creating a profile.

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Who? Why?

Social media often becomes a rat race. Who has the newest technology? Who has the most friends or followers? This blog is designed to slow it down a little and remind people that at its core, social media is about relationships and conversations.

Jake Rosen
Managing Supervisor, Fleishman-Hillard

The content on this site reflects my own opinions and not necessarily those of my employer.


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