By now you have either starred in, heard about or seen at least 5 different versions of the latest Internet meme, Harlem Shake. A meme is an image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another (i.e. Planking, Tewbowing, Sh*t People Say videos). This post will help you understand the 30 seconds of memorizing weirdness that is the Harlem Shake.

What is the Harlem Shake?
Harlem Shake videos follow the script of 1 individual, often in a helmet, dancing solo to Baauer's "Harlem Shake" tune in a room of unassuming people. About 15 seconds in the beat drops and the scene cuts to all the people doing the most random and idiotic things you've ever seen. That's it. Purely entertaining. About as annoying and confusing yet captivating as Gangnam Style.

What made the Harlem Shake go viral?
It's short length made it very easy to consume many of the 30 second videos during a work break. The anticipation of the breakout moment in the song keeps peeps coming back and sharing. And it's humorous...who doesn't enjoy seeing people make fools of themselves?
What was the result of the Harlem Shake?
As of Feb 12th (a few days from the viral debut), over 12,000 Harlem Shake video editions had been uploaded and had been watched over 44 million times. Places and brands that got in on the action: dorms, offices, Pepsi, Google, Facebook, Intel, Dr Pepper, Red Bull, Jimmy Fallon, military, Sea World, universities and sport teams (UGA's underwater video is one of my favorites). Harlem Shake became #1 after Billboard added YouTube to it's chart formula.
What does the Harlem Shake say about Millennials?
This meme was created by Millennials and a majority of the editions were created by Millennials. I find it oddly inspiring how quickly individuals, teams and organizations assembled to create their own versions. Each video requires a certain level of leadership, convincing, discipline and forward thought. We live in an era of collaboration and it is not fame the Millennials chase but rather creative outlets that will make an impact and to have some workplace fun in the mean time. Harlem Shake = another attempt by Millennials to erode the stuffiness of the corporate world. 
What do we do with the Harlem Shake?
Brands: keep a steady pulse on Internet trends so you can capitalize on the buzz and net positive exposure (or at least some good clean fun). Maker Studios (video above) netted 23 million views in less than a month. Not bad for 30 seconds and $0 budget. Probably too late to create a Harlem Shake video but you'll get 'em next time.
Leaders: these Internet memes are great opps to break from the norm and create camaraderie among your team that will then live in infamy on YouTube. Also, if it's funny enough, it could be used as a solid Millennial recruiting tool to demonstrate the fun and relevant workplace you've created.
Now that you have some context for the Harlem Shake craze. Here was my Millennial attempt to depict how the Digital Natives (i.e. Generation Y) would do a virtual Harlem Shake.

Question: How does the Harlem Shake speak to you?


Ryan Jenkins



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