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The lifecycle of video viral-ity as demonstrated by the Harlem Shake

We're now at the Jump the Shark moment with latest video trend

By Keith Shaw on Thu, 02/14/13 - 1:54pm.

Chances are that by now you've heard of the latest video trend hitting the Internet - the Harlem Shake.

This one is a bit hard to explain (go here for a full explainer), but basically it's a video where one person in a crowd full of people is dancing alone, and then when the music stops and starts again, you cut to a video of everyone dancing.

Since some of the earlier videos appeared on the Internet, we've now seen an explosion of other videos that are trying to imitate the concept, something we've previously seen with videos related to "Call Me Maybe" or "Gangnam Style", as well as memes like the "S**t (People) Say" meme from last year.

These videos tend to follow the same pattern, so we're here to provide you with the different stages of a viral video trend:

Stage 1: Introduction

Every viral video has to start somewhere - it's basically the original video that's created. Sometimes it can take years to fester in the deep tunnels of YouTube, or sometimes it quickly gets seen by influencers and imitators.

Here are the first two Harlem Shake videos, the ones that started it all or got the viral ball rolling, so to speak:

Stage 2: Growth

Once the original video starts racking up the page views, other video creators decide that they can do a similar video and ride this gravy train to the video view bank. They add a different twist. Sometimes it's putting the video in a different location (see the Harvard baseball team's Call Me Maybe on a bus video), or sometimes it's adding a different theme that's understandable to a niche audience (see "Gandalf Style"). The creation and generation of more and more of these parody videos of the original help fuel continued growth of the virility, reaching more audiences and causing normal people to go, "WTF is this?"

Most of the time, the people creating these versions are college students or others with lots of free time, or those that can move quickly to create a new version and get it uploaded and promoted.

An offshoot of this trend is to take video properties from other brands and re-edit them to fit the meme. For the Harlem Shake, this is where we see the "My Little Pony" version or the "Peanuts" version, based on footage from other TV shows, but now fitting the current trend:

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