The Harlem Shake Youtube Video and Why Things Go Viral


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The Harlem Shake Youtube Video and Why Things Go Viral

  1. 1. Harlem Shake Youtube Video and Why Things Go Viral Adam Acar Associate Professor of Communication at KCUFS
  2. 2. FAST FACTSOver 44 millionhits and 12,000copycats in 12days (click)
  3. 3. FAST FACTSThe original videohas fewer viewsthan copycats(click) 5.3 million views (Uploaded on 2/2/2013) 7.5 million views 7.3 million views (Uploaded on 2/2/2013) (Uploaded on 2/2/2013) According to the original video did not go viral, the second version by PHL_on_NAN (the one on the right) went viral by getting 300K views on February 5th. (source)
  4. 4. FAST FACTSThe original videois different… It doesn’t have a character with a helmet. All of the characters are dancing during the first half of the video. It doesn’t have normal characters doing nothing without a mask or a costume. The ending is not in slow motion
  5. 5. FAST FACTSDown sides The video is sexist and a little bit offensive to women (in some cultures) The video requires some editing to produce
  6. 6. A FEWTHINGSThe early versions of the video have a lot of NAKED college kids(We subconsciously pay more attention to naked people unless they are offensive, disgusting or immoral) Just like many other viral videos, the video is about a group of people dancing to the same music in a different way. It is about surprising the viewers by using CREATIVITY. It builds up expectation during the fist half. Even though the first half is boring people still watch it because it is not long and it makes the second half more enjoyable (e.g. from super slow to super fast)
  7. 7. A FEWTHINGS It requires teamwork and foster group spirit. Getting more views Youtube is an endorsement and social proof of group success and group creativity. It is also an opportunity for the “creative types” to establish their image in the group.For a workplace it is the best way to do something crazy that can bringemployees together and show an American way of thinking: lifeshouldn’t be taken that seriously and our workplace is a fun place to beIt’s a form of escapism, escaping from the stress of daily problems bydoing simple, stupid or crazy things.It’s like Halloween. You can do crazy and stupid things but its OK becauseeveryone else is doing it or you can cover it by wearing a mask orcostume. At the same time you can somewhat show your real identity…
  8. 8. IS THIS THEPERFECTFORMULA?1. Naked people2. Group of people dancing to the same music in a different way3. First half of the video builds up expectations then funny ending4. A lot of masks and costumes5. Groups, classes, workplaces can make it very easily during a lunch break NO6. Allowing expression of identity and uniqueness in every video/ending (Chinese people can do it in a Chinese way, dog lovers can do it in a dog lover way)7. Creativity needed but just a little bit (something anyone can think of)8. Crazy and silly but just a little bit because we can never know what can go viral.
  9. 9. WHATGOESVIRAL???1. Tastemakers/Influencers share it2. Communities get involved and each community or a member of a community makes a new parody or a new version of the video3. Unexpectedness (click on the image to watch)
  10. 10. WHATGOESVIRAL???1. Focus on ordinary people (user geenrated videos are more likely to go viral)2. Flawed masculinity (males that don’t meet the expectations)3. Humor & incongruity4. Simplicity (no editing or less editing, 1 simple message or 1 simple action, focus on 1 person)5. Repetitiveness (some parts of the video repeats, this makes it easier for others to re-make the same video)6. Whimsical content (things related with popular culture, no controversial topics (e.g. sex, politics religion)7. (source)
  11. 11. WHATGOESVIRAL???1. Laugh-outloud funny2. Edgy3. Gripping4. Sexy(source: Nealon, 2007 cited here)
  12. 12. WHATGOESVIRAL???1. It must have a SURPRISE2. Surprise should be bundled with another emotion (most of the time JOY)3. Emotional roller-coaster is the best: emotional ups and downs in a video4. Usually extrovert and egocentric people forward videos (Egoist people forward videos to show their own taste, their connectedness and their media savviness)5. Young and female viewers are more likely to infleucne others and get influenced6. Videos that are shared among the members of heterogenous groups (various interestes) are more likely to go viral than homogenous groups (e.g. niche interests)source
  13. 13. WHATGOESVIRAL???1. It must be shared by a celebrity(click on images to go to the source)
  14. 14. WHATGOESVIRAL???Branded Viral Movie Predictorsource
  15. 15. Lastly• In Japan usually nerds & geeks hugely impact the popular culture (example AKB 48).• This may also be the case for the rest of the world as in the Harlem Shake video cases , the characters in the original video seem to be strange anime fans doing stupid things.Since techy, geeky types tend to• spend more time on the internet• have better video and tech skills• have more involved homophily networksthey may determine the future memes all around the world…
  16. 16. Some News Stories about the Harlem Shake••• shake-thing/story?id=18488615• blog/wp/2013/02/14/is-it-any-wonder-the-harlem-shake-went- viral/• across-youtube-over-44-million-204623892--abc-news-tech.html• e_youtube_pope_pistorius.html• shake-then-get-harlem-shake-roulette-and-waste-some-time
  17. 17. Note• I don’t own any of these images.• Video images courtesy of Youtube• Most of the other images are MS Powerpoint Cliparts.