How the Harlem Shake Wasn’t As Viral As We Thought

Over at Quartz, Kevin Ashton has a thorough piece explaining how the Harlem Shake wasn't so much a meme in the traditional sense, but the work of corporations.

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Over at Quartz, Kevin Ashton has a thorough piece explaining how the Harlem Shake wasn’t so much a meme in the traditional sense, but the work of corporations pushing something identified as “pre-viral” into full-fledged madness:

Experts said the “Harlem Shake” phenomenon was emergent behavior from the hive mind of the internet—accidental, ad hoc, uncoordinated: a “meme” that “went viral.” But this is untrue. The real story of the “Harlem Shake” shows how much popular culture has changed and how much it has stayed the same… The myth of the “Harlem Shake” is that its viral spread was spontaneous, not directed by financial interests—a pop culture, popular uprising. Here’s how the meme and the myth began.

You didn’t make the Harlem Shake go viral—corporations did [Quartz]

7 comments
JJPRNYC
JJPRNYC

@Kevin_Ashton interesting look at the Shake! Would love to chat with you abt the MCN that helped monetize the shake, sophie@jjdigitalpr.com

francoismat
francoismat

@Kevin_Ashton start studying Hadouken already.

Kevin_Ashton
Kevin_Ashton

@francoismat Love Hadouken. But who decides who is the Hadoukener and who is the Hadoukenee? PS Connection to "Harlem Shake" meme: Japan.

Kevin_Ashton
Kevin_Ashton

@francoismat Love Hadouken. But who decides who is the Hadoukener and is the Hadoukenee? PS Connection to "Harlem Shake" meme: Japan.