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Harlem reacts to Harlem Shake

by Ben Romberg | 21.02.2013
The Internet meme “Harlem Shake” has achieved global virality over the last few weeks, as offices, schools, universities, friends and even someone’s grandma recorded themselves losing it to Baauer’s punchy dubstep number.

Midway through the furore, film producer Chris McGuire took a moment to actually go down to Harlem and ask people who live there what they think of the internet meme. The conclusion is that people there are not happy.

As detailed in the video below, the result shows how the on-line community quickly abandons cultural origins to mass-produce and replicate content on a scale that is designed to generate views and clicks. This response from the residents of Harlem is important because it demonstrates how an idea that transcends borders and gets interpreted globally can have an adverse interpretation from the local culture that originally developed it. Importantly, when considering online content distribution, the real value is often at the source of it all, the point of origin which marketeers and users alike need to be careful not to ignore.