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Reasons why I’m wowed by Pottermore (or, also, why I love the Internet)

I'm among those lucky jillion or however many people who are in Pottermore as Beta testers, AND I went to a presentation on the project at LeakyCon from James Deeley. [Coverage of that event]

Wherein I decided James has, in fact, the coolest job ever (and the other people at TH_NK working on the project).

Creative Strategist for Pottermore
AKA Thinks of cool things to do online to offer a new experience of the Harry Potter books

Pottermore, of course, being the best thing ever to happen to literary/web mashups since the LOLcats Wasteland. The site walks through the books (starting at Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) through a series of 'moments' … illustrated and often interactive views from the book. Less interactive like you're part of the story, more like walking through the shark tunnel at the aquarium, except this time, you can reach in and pick up seashells (or in Pottermore, objects like spellbooks or chocolate frog cards). You also get to be sorted into a house and play wizarding games, like brewing potions and dueling. But I know it's hard to imagine.


And Wherein We Get to the Point

I love to think of Pottermore as a great example of why I just adore the internet and building things to put on it – 

1. The ability to conceptualize and execute
Hello, there are seven Harry Potter books, amazingly written over 10 years. That is an impressive feat of writing/publishing, and doesn't take into account the years of work beforehand developing the story/Jo's writing before publishing.

Meanwhile, Pottermore is getting off the ground in October, basically one year from the START of the conceptualization. And I'm looking, as a beta tester, at a completed Book 1 set, and Book 2 is likely to be on Pottermore in early spring next year. WOW.

2. Imagination itself
This is the part I can't articulate – sometimes I go to talks and have the "OH GAWD THIS IS WHY I NEED TO WORK WITH COMPUTERS" moment, and this was one of them (the other one .. I should probably write about sometime).

Just the fact that we (digital/web/whatever) people are SO blessed to have people come and say "Hey, um, could you make something" and it just gets … imagined. I'm so grateful to play any role in this process, even as my preferred one at the moment is web developer.

3. Taking the old into the new
Some of my favorite apps and web projects are those just 'modernizing' or repurposing past material. It's about seeing that there are so many perspectives on seeing something. Translating old-school library circulation cards into searchable, web-managed library catalogs and accounts. Or photo-sharing. Or taking a bike repair manual around on your phone. Or, you know, translating a much beloved series into an online "experience."

Kinda like transfiguration.

I usually have this motivation bouncing around in my head when working on projects … especially when I'm frustrated by something, but it's helping me learn. But just looking at Pottermore lately – just had to share this.

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