Do The Harlem Shake!

Kevin Ashton’s March 2013 article “You didn’t make the Harlem Shake go viral—corporations did” discusses the fluctuation in google searches and the spike one in particular received only hours after its initial formation.

Ashton responds to the assumptions based around the briefly famous; dance, song, video, trend the Harlem Shake.

The Harlem Shake is or was a craze originating from a free downloadable song that turned into a global video trend that swarmed its way through countries infecting active web users, generally transmitting them through social media sites. It became a meme virus that encouraged people of all ages to shake uncontrollably for less than a minute

The community based around this meme became a collective. Thinking mutually, acting in unison, and posting as a hoard mind. According to Ashton “Experts said the “Harlem Shake” phenomenon was emergent behaviour from the hive mind of the internet” however he disagrees with their claims, stating that the Harlem shake and the burst in its popularity was not from YouTube users as one would first imagine but from “makers-studio”, the Los Angeles company that specializes in making money for YouTube.

According to Ashton, Vernon Shaw noticed the “Harlem Shake” video on Reddit, a major contributor of information to the web, saw its potential to promote Maker Studios. On Feb 7 2013, an imitation was released of Maker Studio staff dancing in their office. The video was then progressed through YouTube and Twitter.

What most would assume to be the cause has turned out to be something much less of a phenomenon. Our minds seem to be programmed by companies and money making schemes to control what we find entertaining. Time and time again we believe we manipulate our own thoughts, it is clear that our daily patterns are studied and scrutinised to the point where companies know us better than we know ourselves.



Ashton, K. 2013You didn’t make the Harlem Shake go viral—corporations did, QuartzMassachusetts Institute of Technology, online blog March 28, accessed 30/04/14




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