Sarah’s voice is several pitches lower than I thought it would be. It is so unexpected I hang up immediately. Instantly, I am nervous. I never thought the girl with the bright teal eyes and flushed cheeks would sound like this. Unconsciously, I had projected personality quirks onto a profile picture I had interacted with for the past two years. What was I getting myself into?
In 2006, Brett Mosberg, a high-school senior in Chicago, Illinois, created a Facebook group called Fuck This…I’m Going to Hogwarts. It was made mere hours after the group feature debuted on the site. The name was as uncouth as it was relatable – in a year, group membership grew from 30 of Brett’s friends to more than 500,000 people worldwide. These were the days before the social media website became infiltrated with advertising and privacy concerns. Facebook groups didn’t simply repost the most viral content on the web, they were the most viral content. At its height, the group had more than 938,000 members. It was the largest Harry Potter Facebook group in the world.
As with any tale of success, there are bound to be some pitfalls. In 2011, Facebook decided to archive all of its groups in order to update to a new format. Despite their promises, we lost five years worth of photos, artwork, and reams of threads on canon conjecture. Gone was the record of friendships formed and first-hand reactions to the publication of the final Harry Potter book – the only time the group and a new Potter book release would coexist. We tried creating the group again, but the damage was done. Membership had plummeted by a whopping 99 percent.
However, friendship is an enduring and persistent thing. A group of 30 of us, the closest within the million, reconvened in a small, hidden group on the website. Though we are now a microcosm of our past, our bonds transcend border lines and time zones. We exist in a new kind of together.
In 2009, the year I met Sarah, I had no way of knowing this would be my future. I peered out of my 20th-floor dorm-room window and saw the heads of Sarah and another group member, Helene, bobbing below. Remembering I had just hung up on her rather rudely, I gathered my resolve and walked to the elevator.
Five years later, Sarah’s voice is still my favourite thing about her.
Raisa Patel is a writer, crafter and full-time geek. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, advocating for social justice, and listing things in threes. Raisa is currently waiting for her Hogwarts letter, which she expects to receive any day now.