One week ago, five Australian skateboarders who were obviously feeling like they had a little extra time on their hands decided to get a little creative with artist Baauer’s song “Harlem Shake” (see video below). Only a few hours after posting the video on their YouTube channel TheSunnyCoastSkate, it was picked up by a second group of motivated young men who decided to make a video with the similar unique flare.
Since then, thousands of these videos have been popping up all over the Internet, and the featured participants have extended far beyond the likes of the initial filmmakers. People who have caught the Harlem Shake fever include everyone from firemen to Norwegian soldiers, office workers, a father and son combo, and even T-Pain.
These videos are amusing, but I think that they give us a great case study to continue to discussion of why videos go viral.
We discussed the different aspects of what could make or break a video from going viral or falling to the wayside, and it seemed to boil down to two primary factors: 1) the video getting picked up by key influencers and 2) luck.
I want to explore the other side of viral videos. What motivates people throughout the world to spend the time creating and sharing these videos? It’s one thing to sit around watching YouTube videos of other people oftentimes making fools of themselves, but what drives someone to be the fool?
I believe that this motivation lies behind our yearning to be a part of something that larger than each and every one of us alone. We live in a world that is more connected than ever. I can see what is happening in Japan, Australia, Chile and beyond with a few buttons. This sense of connectivity actually drives us to feel like a speck of sand on the beach. Having so much access to see what others are doing across the world gives us a constant awareness that so much else is happening outside of our own lives.
How do we overcome this sense of just being another speck of sand on the beach? By joining with all those grains to build a sandcastle. Be a part of something unique, and you will become unique yourself.
If you feel like you have some extra time over the next few days and want to join a movement that bigger than yourself, just take the following simple steps:
- Among a group of people, have one masked friend play “Harlem Shake” by Baauer on a computer, iPhone, or any other audio device. Dance to the beat of the song as it builds.
- When the song bass drops, cut to a shot of the entire room of people ridiculously dancing in any way possible.
- Share it on YouTube.
- Join the movement.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Is it time for MI621 to Harlem Shake it out?