Communications General

2 Lessons From The Harlem Shake

February 25, 2013

In February 2013, the Harlem Shake officially took over social media feeds and computers everywhere as the greatest viral web sensation since Gangam Style.

On February 3rd, a Harlem Shake dance video, based off of a song by Baauer, started a firestorm of spin-off videos. Within 12 days, 40,000 new Harlem Shake videos had hit YouTube that were viewed over 175 million times. Since then, that number has grown.

Here’s my personal favorite so far, and one of the only appropriate ones I could find:

Two Lessons I’ve learned from the Harlem Shake

  • 1.) It’s Easy To Chase Cool
    It’s never been easier to find something that worked for someone else and try to copy it for yourself. Thousands have jumped on the Harlem Shake video bandwagon seeking to become the next YouTube sensation. What are we left with? Thousands of videos lost in the noise of everyone else trying to stick out from the crowd. If you’re not careful, you can waste a lot of time and money chasing gimmicks.
  • 2.) Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
    There are countless traps found in trends, technology and viral videos that are seemingly easy to reproduce, but won’t serve a purpose or solve a problem. We need to have the wisdom to look at these type of opportunities and decide what we should engage in and what we should ignore.

Ok, so you may not be stuck at the crossroads deciding if you should or shouldn’t produce your own Harlem Shake video. But maybe your deciding if you should start a new marketing campaign, spend big money on a flashy new website, start a new blog, or buy that new phone.

When you’re facing your next decision, trying to decide if you’re doing something great or just chasing cool, ask yourself this: What’s my objective? Does this address a solution to a problem we’re trying to solve?

We don’t need another Harlem Shake video. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.