In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a magic radio station called ‘Potterwatch’ played a pivotal role in the defeat of Lord Voldemort. Hosted by Lee Jordan (that Gryffindor bloke with dreads who commentated Hogwarts quidditch matches), the program allowed users all over the wizarding world to tune in and contribute, to recognise and discuss issues which arose in the face of Voldemort’s supremacy. Speakers included students, ministry workers (let’s liken those to government officials for all you muggles reading this), professors and members of the Order of the Phoenix (a secret underground society fighting against Voldemort’s reign). This station built a strong following and movement against issues such as:
- the plight for muggle-born equality, which equates to racism in this metaphor I still haven’t broken away from; and
- the murders and torture of those discriminated against;
and it ultimately aided in the demise of Lord Voldemort. It gave confidence to followers and increased their numbers and power. It disseminated information and allowed nodes to connect. Potterwatch reported information which was censored by the Ministry of Magic and allowed communication between wizards on the run (nodes).
If we step out of J.K. Rowling’s pages we can apply this sick metaphor to the real world. Real-world revolutions have been sparked by social media. These movements are sparked by people who want to be heard. The internet is dialogic by design, as is Potterwatch to an extent. A radio is mostly monologic in design, but Potterwatch is a station which still presents characteristics of social media revolutions today. The dialogic internet allows for communication to occur on a mass-scale between nodes, a ‘many to many’ model as opposed to a ‘one to many’ model. It allows for such feats as speedy mobilisation, mass-involvement and reach and scalable openness. Everyone has access and everyone can be accessed. Everyone can join a movement. Let’s look at the case of Khaled Saeed in Egypt. In 2010 he was beaten to death by government officials. Images of his dead, tortured corpse were leaked online, which incited the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Much of this incitement was born from a Facebook group, We are All Khaled Saeed.
Outside of the Hogwarts microcosm we can see that social media has become a weapon of unprecedented power in protesting. The key to this feat is connectivity; the ability for people (nodes) all over the planet to reach one another via social media. One resistance tweet is powerless; it is the force of many that sparks a revolution. It effectively transforms and coordinates restless people into active nodes with one collectively powerful voice; we are all peripheries, we are a human re-enactment of the network society paradigm.