Hello, Harlem Shake, you were so awesome a week ago. Isn’t that how it goes with all these internet crazes? It takes about a week to get tired of them, but it takes about six months to get rid of them. Think about it. The very first time you saw Keyboard Cat, Gangnam Style, or our recently-beloved Harlem Shake, you were all in, and you probably couldn’t get enough. You were like:
NEW MEME: THE FIRST DAY
Then a week in, after seeing a million of the replications and parodies of the videos, you were like:
NEW MEME: A WEEK IN
And once the meme broke through to the mainstream, and you were having to deal with your parents, teachers, and co-workers talking about said phenomenon, you were like (wait for it…):
NEW MEME: TWO WEEKS LATER
That’s what’s wonderful and horrible about the web. Out of nowhere, a meme can emerge and shake the world, but it wears out its welcome almost as quickly as it arrived. In the case of the Harlem Shake, Youtuber FilthyFrank gave birth to the Harlem Shake meme when he included a bit of him and his friends dancing to trap music classic Harlem Shake by Baauer (can trap music have classics, yet?). Within days, people saw the new meme and duplicated it, extended it, and parodied it, creating a Cambrian explosion of awesome videos you loved for that first week, but a week is really all it takes before you just get tired of it all.
The problem is it takes time for major trends like these to filter their way from people like you (If you’re on Break, you’re watching all this stuff happen early in its lifecycle) to people like your parents, and your friends who aren’t deep into the net, and then it takes time for them to make their own remakes and twists on the original. I think the official path is: deep internet people-->hipsters-->Yahoo!-->Facebook-->Your parents-->church youth groups-->elementary schools-->your bosses at work. That’s a long path, and that's why there are still Gangnam Style videos being made when that trend should be dead and gone.
So, yes, I loved you, Harlem Shake, but I've got to let you go. You've reached the point where every athletic program in the country is going to do you, and I've seen enough to know that I don't want to stick around for that.
I want to hear from you. What is the meme you love, and what is the meme you'd like to send to an unmarked grave? I'll go first. For me, the first meme I got to witness happen was the Milk & Cereal lipdub, an oldie but goodie. It was when the lightbulb went off in my head, and I realized that this kind of thing was going to happen over and over again. So I love that one. The one I hate with a passion is last year's Shit People Say meme that happened over on Youtube. There had to be 80,000 versions of videos of people thinking they had clever insights into how people act. Ugh!
-Earnest @earnestp on Twitter