It is an important part of convergence and participation culture to understand and to pay homage to what has already made its mark on the Internet. One of the major benefits that reminiscing on the past is that it enables you, oh so proud Internet user, to get your creative juices flowing and to brainstorm how you can leave your indelible mark online. Therefore, Convergence in the Dotau proudly introduces to you what we believe are five powerful examples of convergence and participation on the Internet that have left its mark on an almost global scale.
Andrew Walker – The Mark Seen Around the World
On a cold winter night in Melbourne two of Australian Football’s fiercest rivals battled it out on the MCG in what turned out to be a brutally one sided affair with Carlton easily accounting of Essendon. Although blowouts are generally forgotten rather quickly what will not be forgotten is the astonishing aerial display by Carlton forward Andrew Walker. Walker’s mark of the year candidate [he would go on to place runner up to Collingwood’s Andrew Krakouer] made international headlines for a sport that has only ever been able to dream of global exposure.
The mark was posted to YouTube on the evening of the game by user ‘hoever06’ and would quickly take its place on the most watched video of the day list by mostwatchedvideo.com. The rapid rate of international viewers of the mark was driven by major Internet publications including the Huffington Post, Hyper Vocal, NBC Sports, Yahoo! Sports and many others.
Walker’s contribution to convergence came in the form of his on field highlight. However, as the Ten Network had been telecasting the game throughout Australia the footage of the film was able to be uploaded to the Internet, by a fan, and viewed globally. This demonstrates that convergence can be achieved without the initial performer of the act, in this case Andrew Walker, doing anything at all on the Internet. Further, the mark demonstrates the type of investment sports fans can make by sharing their love of the game with millions of other people online.
Prior to publication, the mark has now become the first Australian Football League video to amass over three million views on YouTube.
Jack Vidgen – Young Australian Has Talent
As a nation, we Aussies are known to cheer for the underdog. Jack Vidgen, winner of the 2011 season of Australia’s Got Talent perhaps is the ultimate teenaged underdog. The now fifteen year old musician comes from a separated family (he lives with his mother in Queensland with his father living in New South Wales) and survived a dirt poor reality of being forced to sleep in the family car in a caravan park as a youngster (The Daily Telegraph, 2011, online).
Following Vidgen’s semi-final performance on Australia’s Got Talent, one of the three celebrity judges, Kyle Sandilands shared his understanding of the power of convergence. Sandilands claimed that he knew that they [Australia’s Got Talent] had discovered a superstar when he heard Vidgen’s audition being played in a Star Bucks coffee shop in Los Angeles. This would be far from the only success that Vidgen would enjoy off shore. Such was the popularity of the young Vidgen that the American version of the show [America’s Got Talent] aired one of his performances. This enabled his management to position him within the all-important United States music industry during a period when there are a number of young adolescent stars. So enamored were the Americans of our young Jack that he would perform live in Las Vegas on the set of America’s Got Talent (Weatherford), as well as in New York, Los Angeles and Houston as a part of the Australia Week G’Day USA celebrations held in January (Vickery).
Vidgen gained his convergence fame in the same manner as the previously mentioned Andrew Walker. Fans of the show, including J1MZO, watched the national broadcast of Australia’s Got Talent on the Seven Network and uploaded it to YouTube enabling people throughout the world to watch his performances. From there music industry websites and fan blogs linked to the Vidgen videos. Vidgen, however, has not shied away from the Internet as he contributes to his own official website, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.
Cody Simpson – Australia’s Justin Bieber
In stark contrast with Jack Vidgen there is another young Australian who has made a big name for himself in the international music industry. Fifteen year old Cody Simpson, hailing from the Gold Coast, Queensland became an Internet and convergence sensation not through the winning of a nationally televised talent contest but rather through his own hard work and the understanding and embracing of convergent technologies.
Simpson was born into a music loving family and naturally found the inclination to perform from an early age as he asked for a guitar and lessons at the age of seven (Simpson). With his intentions to become the best musician that he could be Simpson would film himself performing and begin his YouTube legacy by posting the results online. Simpson’s YouTube channel, launched in August of 2008 (Simpson, online), hosts sixty five videos with almost four hundred thousand current subscribers and a staggering one hundred and twenty four million video views with the number rising rapidly.
Through getting his worldwide start with YouTube, Simpson has been fortunate enough to sign with one of the world’s most renowned music labels, Atlantic Records, in 2010. Consequently, Simpson has been able to collaborate with some of the most famous names in the music industry including Flo Rida, Colby O’Donis, Bei Major and DJ FrankE. Along with the contract signing with Atlantic Records came a relocation from his native Gold Coast to Los Angeles (Simpson, online).
Simpson’s convergence has been strengthened through the utilisation of a number of different social media networks other than YouTube with accounts including Twitter and Facebook. His management also maintain his official website where he posts blog entries and also hosts music, photographs, videos and also boasts a community section for his fans and an online store where you can purchase Cody Simpson branded merchandise.
The Janoskians – “Those” Melbourne Teenagers
Who would have thought that a group of teenagers who filmed themselves behaving like typical teenagers and uploading the footage onto YouTube would become breakout convergence celebrities? Melbourne’s Janoskians, that’s whom!
The Janoskians have, as of publication, thirty two videos uploaded to YouTube with over one hundred and thirty eight thousand subscribers and an astonishing fourteen and a half million video views around the world.
The group compare themselves to pop artists such as Justin Bieber and boy bands telling the Herald Sun’s Angus Thompson that “there are boy bands and there are groups of boys that sing, there has never been a group of boys that go out and film stupid stuff.”
While understanding the reasoning behind their mass popularity is open to discussion what is clear is how the group have used convergence technologies to become famous. They have begun with original videos that they have filmed themselves and have used YouTube to upload themselves. In contrast to Andrew Walker’s mark they have been responsible from the performance through to its convergence to YouTube. The group has then utilised Internet social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr in order to create a web presence that best services their own personal needs and those of their fans.
The group has become so popular that a recently planned ‘meet and greet’ event at Melbourne’s Luna Park was forced to be cancelled after an estimated five thousand fans turned up to see them.
Darren Rowse and Problogger.net – Proof That You Can Do It!
We believe that it is important that the fifth and final example of convergent superstars comes in the form of the most basic of convergences – blogging. The truth is that anybody can blog! A blog is a website where the creator(s) or a group of users have recorded their opinions or what they perceive to be important information over a regular period of time. The host of this website, WordPress, is one of the largest blogging hosts in the world and it is free! This little project could easily become a blog! It’s that simple!
When it comes to Australians blogging, Melbourne’s own Darren Rowse can make his claim as being one of best in the world. As the man behind Problogger.net , which bills itself as ‘a Blog that helps bloggers to add income streams to their blogs’ as well as other blogs, he has been voted as Australia’s best blog by the likes of Entrepreneurs-Journey, Dipping into the Blogpond and Craig Harper (Only Melbourne).
Rowse is so gifted at blogging that he has been able to make it his fulltime profession. Further, his audiences are captivated enough to read his work over a number of different blogs including one on his own digital photography school and relaxation – self-help – motivational blog FeelGooder. Forbes Magazine has recognised Rowse’s achievements to name him a ‘top 25 Web celeb’.
Rowse is living proof that anybody can take blogging from being a hobby to the professional level. All you truly need is the passion to put fingers to the keyboard!
Convergence in the dotau by Melbournistas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Australia License.
Based on a work at dotauproject.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://dotauproject.wordpress.com/.