Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, I’m pretty sure you have heard of “The Harlem Shake.”
It is a 30-second sensation sweeping across YouTube. It starts with one person dancing in a room full of people in a weird way while “The Harlem Shake” is playing in the background for the first 20 or so seconds. Then, after a voice says, “Do the Harlem Shake,” others join in wearing some eccentric outfits and everyone dances for the last 10 seconds of the video.
It’s a pretty simple concept, so what makes it so popular? Maybe it is the simplicity of just moving in a funny manner or wearing funny clothes. Nevertheless, it may have already hit the peak of popularity and could be trending downward.
Many groups on campus have posted their version of the dance on YouTube including WTOP, Oneida Hall, Hart Hall, Riggs Hall, Scales Hall and even the Oswego State Men’s Track and Field team. I recommend watching them; they are worth the seconds.
All viral videos and popular songs have some sort of lifespan. “The Harlem Shake” is popular now, but what about in six months or a year? Most viral videos and famous songs fade into the shadows of YouTube in a pretty short time span.
Does anyone remember the Harvard Baseball team doing a “Call Me Maybe” routine in the back of their team van last year? I do because I worked at a baseball stadium over the summer and saw it during every home game. As for others, it might be tough to recall. The point is that if the topic interests you, then the video will stay fresh in your mind.
The “Gangnam Style” dance, another viral sensation, seems to have run its course and been placed on the back burner. The popular dance, replicated even by Cebu Prison inmates in the Philippines, has been cast away by almost everyone. Maybe the occasional 10-year-old will enjoy it every now and then, but I do not foresee a major comeback anytime soon. However, the cycle of pop culture can be altered based on the audience.
Pop culture cycles can be relatively short if the item was popular to begin with. A prime example is the song “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Average music listeners might listen to it sparingly from January to mid-October, but when Halloween is around the corner, then everyone has the song at the top of their playlist. The same thing could apply to the “Dougie.” Just wait until prom night and someone wants a dance-off, otherwise you probably will not see it anytime soon.
Regardless of what you think of them, “Harlem Shake” videos will keep popping up on YouTube for a few weeks until the trend dies down, so just try to enjoy them for now.