The Rise of The Harlem Shake

By Sheldon Levine - Thursday, February 28th, 2013 at 7:30 am  

If you keep up to date on what’s hot on the internet, you’ve no doubt stumbled across a Harlem Shake video in the past couple of weeks. The strange videos have quickly become one of the most popular things on the internet and everyone is trying to get in on the action. What’s really interesting about this trend is how quickly it went viral.

I did a little research on the Harlem Shake viral trend. The Harlem Shake was a real dance before this all started. The original video that started the trend was a kind of homage to the original dance, but it has taken on a life of its own since then, but are still called Harlem Shake because of the song of the same name by Baauer is used for all of the videos. According to Know Your Meme, this is the first video that started it all:

After that video was uploaded to YouTube, a few people found it and started to make their own versions of it. However, the videos didn’t really take off until popular online video makers Maker Studios made their own version:

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytic software, I did some research and it turns out that the Maker Studios video likely did start the trend. Their video was uploaded on February 7th, and a look at our popularity chart for mentions of “Harlem Shake” across social channels shows that they start to take off just after that.

It took off so much that a search for “Harlem Shake” over the past month shows that there were over 8.8 million mentions of it. I found 22,957 blog posts, 19,613 online news articles, 52,796 forum postings and 8,746,860 tweets about it.

Those mentions don’t even take into account the number of videos that make mention of it. A search for videos over that same month show that there has been over 502,000 videos titled or tagged with “Harlem Shake.”

When this trend went viral, it took off world wide. A look at our country breakdown shows that places around the world have been talking about the Harlem Shake. 45.6% of the mentions came from the United States, but we found significant amounts coming from places like the United Kingdom (7.1%), Canada (4%), Germany (3.2%), France (2.8%) and even Vietnam (2.7%).

To put that in perspective, below is a heat map of where the mentions of Harlem Shake were coming from on Twitter. No continent has been missed by these crazy dance videos.

Not everyone loves these videos though. People from Harlem seem to think that the internet is making a mockery of something that was theirs. (I personally think that this trend has nothing to do with the actual Harlem Shake dance, but more the Baauer track, but that’s just me.)

Regardless of what the video above says, people worldwide seem to love these videos. Our overall sentiment rating shows that talk about the Harlem Shake is 84% favourable, with 28% positive talk and only 16% negative.

We want to know what you think about the Harlem Shake. Tell us your thoughts in the comments. Or, maybe even share with us your favourite Harlem Shake video. Here’s a few of mine:

 

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