It’s too soon to tell if the various bizarre 30-second versions of “Harlem Shake” have what it takes to be 2013’s answer to "Gangnam Style." But to the delight of everyone who enjoys getting jiggy in dorm rooms and offices, the Harlem Shake meme has taken off fast enough to get some serious credit from the powers that be at YouTube itself.
In a post titled “The Harlem Shake is Exploding,” YouTube trends manager Kevin Allocca reveals that more than 12,000 Harlem Shake videos had been uploaded by close of business Monday. Collectively, they have been watched more than 44 million times in a week.
A quick guide for the baffled: Harlem Shake videos all follow the script of one person, often in a helmet, dancing alone in a room full of bored-looking people. Then, as the beat kicks in on Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” we smash cut to the entire room going nuts in the most ridiculous ways possible.
Clearly, part of the success of the videos can be attributed to the anticipation of that breakout moment. Another reason: The videos are so short, you can easily consume a dozen of them in a ten-minute lunch break.
Allegedly, this is the video that started it all:
Copies then spawned all over the web but it was this version by company Maker that truly exploded the meme showing that anyone anywhere can take part, not just students and boys in dorms, it just topped 7 million views:
Here are some more of my favourites: