Facebook and Twitter celebrate Harry Potter 20th


Get ready to feel old. Like really old. Today is the official 20th anniversary of the release of the Harry Potter franchise.

The first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (later retitled The Sorcerer’s Stone in America), was released 20 years ago, on June 26th, 1997.

To take our minds off the fact that we are closer to becoming dust, Facebook and Twitter have gone all out to celebrate by posting Easter Eggs on user’s social media posts.

On Facebook, users who mention the words “Harry Potter,” “Gryffindor,” “Ravenclaw,” “Hufflepuff,” or “Slytherin,” in a text post will cause the words to light up in their respective house colors (Harry and Gryffindor in red, Ravenclaw in blue, Hufflepuff in yellow, and Slytherin in green).

As an added bonus: tapping on the Potter-related words causes a magic want to appear and shoot out sparks, just like in the books.

But the social media giant isn’t the only one adding some fun anniversary related features. Twitter introduced a special emoji of Harry’s iconic, round-framed glasses with an accompanying red lightning bolt-shaped scar that appears when fans tweet using the hashtag #HarryPotter20.

It also introduced some fun facts about what people tend to tweet about when it comes to the franchise around the boy wizard.

Tweeting Monday, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling expressed her gratitude for all the readers who’ve picked up her books over the years keeping the series alive.

A couple of HP Super Fans reacted to the news of Gryffindor’s finest turning twenty.

Mike Mistele, Director of Strategic Consulting at Episilon said, “I first discovered Harry Potter when my schoolteacher wife brought home the first book, a few months after it was first released in the U.S., and I devoured it in an evening. JK Rowling created this world full of wonder and joy, which rapidly became a cultural phenomenon. Over the past 20 years, being a nerd, and a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, has become cool, and I think that Harry Potter was one of the most important catalysts in that change.”

Creative Director, Craig Brimm, added, “I have a twenty-year-old daughter who grew up on it. Later HP encouraged her to read big books. She was so proud when she finished reading her huge book we took long road trips that kinda centered around listening to a few of the books on CD. LOL. Yeah, CD, what are those? LOL!”

“It doesn’t feel like it’s been 20 years because it still seems so current,” observed Animator and Filmmaker Kate Stransky. “I loved them 20 years ago and now my kids love them. They are such fabulous stories and films that they don’t seem to age.”

Creative Director, Jammeleh Shelo added, “I don’t think he can turn 20. I think even with the most recent iteration (The Cursed Child play in London) Harry Potter the story remains school aged I also think the stories are timeless, so its nice that they are turning 20 but like R Kelly said ‘Age is just a number.'”

Since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone debuted in 1997, the book and its six ensuing sequels have gone on to spark an entire universe of films (including the Fantastic Beasts movies) and a two-part play.

Follow Colin Costello on Twitter @colincostello10.