Vicus: The story of a YouTube & social media quest

On Tuesday morning, Memeburn broke the news that we had tracked down the original YouTube viral video featuring Vicus. The events that took place in the days that followed our original post have since given us insight into the competitive world of online talent search, and what viral really means in a developing country like South Africa.

The earliest copy of Vicus’ video on YouTube was uploaded by Caldwell Caster in May 2010, but it was only subsequent copies of Caldwell’s video that went viral. In total there were four copies of Vicus’ video on YouTube and the most popular of these videos racked up close to 190 000 views before being removed by the uploader after being bombarded by emails and phone calls from record labels, celebrities and talent agencies. In total Vicus’ videos have received close to 300 000 views on YouTube in the last few months.

After tracking down the original uploader of Vicus’ viral video to YouTube, Mr Caldwell Caster in Johannesburg, we were informed that Vicus was in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg. Further research indicated that Caster himself had no actual relationship with Vicus, but had known someone who might have known the boy’s identity. Caster received the video from a friend in Krugersdorp via email.

It is not uncommon for videos to go viral on private mobile networks before they ever get uploaded to the internet — Vicus’ video is a prime example. Vicus’ video spent an astonishing six years being passed from one person to the next via bluetooth and email, before exploding onto the world wide web.

On Wednesday, Vicus was finally discovered in Heidedal Bloemfontein where ironically, he was performing in a talent show. Vicus is now 17 years old and his life is now changed forever — the media now knows his identity.

Since our post on Tuesday Memeburn was contacted by Island Def Jam Records, Justin Bieber’s management team and a number of other music industry people, all looking for more information on Vicus. According to Caster he has been contacted by US cable channel B.E.T, England’s Sky News, and a number of record companies.

Record labels from the US are so desperate to meet Vicus that they have sent teams down to South Africa to search for the young man.

And just to add more intrigue to this curious story, Ofm, the Bloemfontein radio station responsible for physically finding Vicus, reported that after their meeting with Vicus on Wednesday, he never returned home. According to the family and Ofm, Vicus was taken by an unknown man from Johannesburg.

Thanks to social media, Vicus has been found, but where is he now?

Here is a new video of the now 17 year old Vicus.


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