Yes, more than half of the civilized world has made their own version of the Harlem Shake video, and my family is no exception. See our video below. I’ve always been curious about how different memes become popular through social media, and the rapid popularity of the Harlem Shake is an interesting story. The dance itself has a 30-year history, but the video versions to the song “Harlem Shake” by DJ Baauer are a recent phenomena. The Know Your Meme website has some fascinating details and statistics about the rise of the 30-second self-made copies of the first goofy Shake video.
In thinking about my own knowledge and interest in the Shake videos, I first heard Baauer’s song over at SoundCloud thanks to Tyler Gayheart. It’s a catchy tune on its own, but the copy videos are just plain fun to watch. Some get a little strange and inappropriate, but I like the ones with kids and parents just having fun. My friend Jeremy Macdonald and his family made this one, and it inspired me and my two kids to do the same.
So aside from just doing something fun, why do people participate in these copy-cat dances? Ryan Eller shares some good thoughts in this post on his blog. In short, he says people like to belong, smile, and share joy. That is certainly the case for us at the Rees house.