World Heritage is increasingly mediated by the digital sphere. In 2013 the Sydney Opera House had a global online community of 128 million. These digital engagements outnumber in-person visits 16:1 and have been estimated to have an economic value of $59 million AuD (Deloitte, 2013). Using the Sydney Opera House as a case study, the paper describes public forms of participation with this place via platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Facebook and Flickr. There is a growing imperative to evaluate the digital engagements of global online communities. Especially when many of these ‘visitors’ will likely never physically set foot in the Sydney Opera House itself.
Dr. Cristina Garduño Freeman is an academic in heritage, architecture and digital media, focused on social value, Google search and participatory culture. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Australian Centre for Architectural History, Urban and Cultural Heritage at the University of Melbourne. In 2017 she published her first research monograph on the Sydney Opera House and in 2014 she won the IVSA Rieger Award. Previously she lectured at Deakin University and practiced in architecture and visual communication.