Via GalleyCat came this little smile of the day—JK Rowling’s Twitter response to a fan who wondered what the series would look like if told from the villain Draco Malfoy’s point of view. Rowling responds with a full slate of titles, including ‘Draco Malfoy and the Rejected Handshake’ and ‘Draco Malfoy and the Year His Father Would Hear About.’
It’s funny, but it’s also an object lesson in what makes the internet age so awesome sometimes. I’m not exactly withered crone age just yet, but I do remember a childhood, pre-internet, where books were pretty much a thing you read at home, alone, by yourself, the end. Sure, you could write a letter to an author if you were so motivated. But they weren’t so easy to find, and you’d need an envelope and a stamp and a trip to the post office.
The immediacy of Twitter, the ease of funding just about anybody and speaking to them right away, would have seemed magical to me. And it’s not just authors, either. I have used several workout DVDs whose creators are happy to help via Twitter and message boards. Why wouldn’t they? A few minutes spent helping you be successful, and they might get a testimonial they can use to sell more copies.
Sometimes, the internet can be a time suck, a slush pile, a forum for indulging in your dumbest whims. But sometimes, it can be incredible, and I think connecting creators and customers can be one of those times. Tweet on, JK Rowling!
Exactly right. The Internet is all about making connections easy.
For instance, in 1979, I roamed Europe and spent 8 months in Israel. The result was a lot of people I’d liked to have stayed in touch with. But the difficulties of international mail meant those relationships withered away. Today, they don’t. Email is easy, as is messaging and Skype conversations. You can have as friends people you’ve not seen in years.
It makes you appreciate authors like C. S. Lewis who, with his brother doing the typing, tried to answer every letter he received. Twitter would have been much easier, although perhaps more demanding of his time.