The billionaire Harry Potter author uses social media not just to connect with fans, but to support them.
J.K. Rowling attends the premiere of "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them" on November 15th, London. Anthony Harvey | Getty Images
Twitter is a lot of things to its celebrity users—a news outlet or promotional tool, a way to connect with adoring fans, a place to vent or even start a good old-fashioned Twitter feud.
But in the hands of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, Twitter may also be a lifesaver.
Rowling, who connects frequently with her fans through Twitter, received a worrisome tweet earlier this week: “everything keeps falling apart, I can’t..im tired..” wrote a writer known as Kate. “im not saying I’ll give up, but I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t wake up tomorrow.”
Less than a minute later, Rowling tweeted back, encouraging her to get help. “I would mind,” Rowling wrote. “I’d mind very much. You need to tell someone close to you how you’re feeling.”
MORE TO READ: Best tweets of the week, all about gratitude
Other Twitter users chimed in, encouraging Kate to hang in there. “Don’t give up, ever,” @RobinEllacott told her. I’m sure many people would mind and would miss you terribly! Jo’s right, tell someone!” Another user, @hifelycia, tweeted, “but the sun will rise tomorrow and everything will be ok.” Still another, @zachtpike, said, “I’d mind. You are always more valuable and important than you can imagine. I’m always here if you need someone.”
Kate asked J.K. Rowling for a word of encouragement. Rowling gave it to her—and because of her wide and rabid Twitter following, she brought an army for backup.
|She’s one of the few celebrities who can make headlines with a single tweet …”|
Rowling is well known for her interactions on Twitter. She joined in 2009 only when she learned that someone was impersonating her on the network, and she warned any would-be followers that she’d never equal the prolific Twitter output of, say, Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian. “I’m afraid you won’t be hearing from me very often ……… as pen and paper is my priority at the moment.”
But what her tweets lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. She’s one of the few celebrities who can make headlines with a single tweet—like the time when she slammed conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch or the hate group Westboro Baptist Church. When Matthew Lewis—the guy who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies—posed in some risqué photos for Attitude magazine, Rowling jokingly turned mother and told him to “put some clothes on.”
And she regularly talks to her fans. When @jakerosslake pondered “what does one wear when meeting @jk_rowling,” the author wrote back, “Wear a hat. I like hats.”
When @amymeowz said, “Had a dream I met @jk_rowling and she quizzed me on Harry Potter trivia and I didn’t know any answers and it was terrifying and mortifying,” Rowling returned the tweet: “I had a waking nightmare where I met a Harry Potter fan who quizzed me on a sub-plot & I couldn’t remember what I’d written.”
|[I]n her tweets, she doesn’t come across like a celebrity … She’s like that clever friend we love to have coffee with.”|
Rowling is a lot of fun to follow. But what strikes me most about her tweets is her deeply compassionate responses to her followers, especially when they could use a word or two of encouragement (and given that Twitter restricts tweets to just 140 characters, there’s not much room for anything else). Indeed, this week wasn’t the first time that Rowling seemed to offer a little hope to someone who’d lost it.
Last May, @BrocasesarTV tweeted, “@jk_rowling This may get lost in the noise..but what would you say to someone who has failed to find meaning and wants to finally give up?”
@jk_rowling This may get lost in the noise..but what would you say to someone who has failed to find meaning and wants to finally give up?— Brocaesar (@BrocaesarTV) May 4, 2015
It didn’t get lost in the noise. Rowling promptly responded with a series of inspiring tweets.
“I would say: look at this,” she wrote, posting a picture of a beautiful, natural stone arch in front of a dazzling sky of stars.
“And this,” she wrote with another picture—this one depicting a blood-red moon rising above ancient Greek ruins.
“And even this,” this time serving up a photo of a sloth holding a stuffed giraffe.
“And I’d say, the world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet,” she concluded. “Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.”
Rowling’s rise from obscurity to celebrity has been well chronicled: How she and her daughter, Jessica, were on welfare when she began to write her first Harry Potter book. How the book was rejected several times before she finally sold it for about $4,000.
Now she’s a billionaire—and would be richer still if she didn’t give so much of her money away. (She donated $160 million to charity in 2011 alone.)
MORE TO READ: J.K. Rowling talks about the great value of rejection
But in her tweets, she doesn’t come across like a celebrity. She feels like, for lack of a better term, one of us, only better spoken—witty and goofy and angry and kind, like that clever friend we love to have coffee with or that favorite aunt who always brightens a room.
Few of us will ever have coffee with Rowling or see her brighten a room. But thanks to Twitter, we can watch as she brightens someone’s day—and even helps a fan find the courage to actually see the next day, too.
- 9 expert tips for a calmer, happier child’s bedroom
- How to overcome your insecurities during sex
- Simple style: The only weekend outfit you need
- When Chris Pratt is homesick, this is his go-to Bible verse
- How Audrey Hepburn defied the Oscars red carpet
- 26 simple & unique cross necklaces
- Mistakes in life happen, even at the Oscars
- Mistakes in life happen, even at the Oscars
- The ‘best dress’ at the Oscars that everyone should be talking about
- This baby detected his mother’s breast cancer, saving her life
- The health benefits of having a ‘good cry,’ explained by a psychologist
- In defense of skipping the gym
- The Oscars: Six who will win… and six who should
- Are you an introvert? How to be confident in social situations
- These adorable Instagram triplets will melt your heart (PHOTOS)
- Is the wedding night your first time? Let these pointers give you peace of mind