4 Reasons to Do the ‘Harlem Shake’ at Your Desk Right Now


Like a viral video moving at the speed of sound, the ‘Harlem Shake’ is on a torrid pace across the Internet.

In just a few weeks, more than 12,000 versions of the ‘Harlem Shake’ have been uploaded to YouTube. In all, the videos have been watched 44 million times.

Everyone is joining the party. I used to work in TV with the anchorwoman on the left in this video. Great work, Domonique!

4.74 million views and counting.

Did the ‘Harlem Shake’ originate with the Harlem Globetrotters? A DJ named Baauer? A tradition in Ethiopia?

Wherever it came from, the dance has officially descended on the Web. A wild mix of flailing arms and thrusting groins, ‘Harlem Shake’ has the world’s attention. Its enormous popularity brings up a interesting question:

Why did the ‘Harlem Shake’ go viral in the first place?

The answer can teach us a lot about what it takes to stand out — and make an impact — at our own jobs.

Whether you actually do the ‘Harlem Shake’ at your desk…I’ll leave that decision to you.

 How to Do the ‘Harlem Shake’ at Work


1. Brief but Powerful

Chris Taylor at Mashable said it best:

‘The videos are so short, you can easily consume a dozen of them in a ten-minute lunch break.’

If you want people to hear your entire message, make it quick. Always ask yourself: what is the fastest way to deliver my information to someone else? Remember: less is more.


2. It Takes a Village

Much like ‘Gangnam Style,’ the ‘Harlem Shake’ craze has a lot to do with group participation. More people involved = better overall product.

If you want to develop leadership skills at your job, harness the power of team-building. Include as many people as you can on a project, rely on each person’s strengths and prove to the bosses that you know how to manage employees.


3. The Art of the Hustle

Work assignments — like viral videos — have a limited shelf life. If a client needs something in a hurry, the only option is to crank out the work and deliver on time. That’s when you become known as dependable and responsive.

Right now, the Web is clamoring for more ‘Harlem Shake’ videos. You’d better act fast because…


4. Eventually, the Meme Will Fade

‘Harlem Shake’ exploded onto the scene, but soon enough we’ll move onto the next catchy video.

How do you ensure you never fade from view at work? Simple. Apply lessons 1-3 from up above over and over again: be brief, be inclusive, be dependable.

Combined, those three attributes won’t make you go viral on the job. No, they’ll do something much better:

They’ll make you vital today, tomorrow and for years to come.


What’s your favorite ‘Harlem Shake’ video? 

Share the link with the rest of us!


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© 2013, Danny Rubin


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