@Filthyfrank is someone you’ve never heard of; but he’s the guy you and Baauer should really thank for setting in motion an absurd history rewriting meme that launched a few days after this year’s Super Bowl: The Harlem Shake. So says Kevin Ashton writing for The Verge.
Ashton paints a vivid picture of how things get shared on the internet via memes and YouTube. He explains how this annoying phenomenon, harnessed by serveral corporations after @FilthyFrank uploaded it, colonized people’s minds and short changed the world.
Its interesting the anger I’m feeling over this meme given that I consume content made by corps daily. That said, even though I didn’t participate in this fraud (the real Harlem Shake is more eloquent and comes from a place of race and class conflict in 1980s New York), I still feel duped that something so wrong was erasing black history, something that was lining corporate coffers daily.
Here’s the short of it:
[email protected] uploaded a 19 second video himself to YouTube dressed in a pink body suit dancing with three friends to Baauer’ Harlem Shake.
2. One of @FilthyFrank’s fans loops the video to three minutes 30 seconds.
3.Five teenage longboarders from Australia imitates @FilthyFrank’s dance. Three teenage longboarders from Florida copy the Australians unaware of @FreakyFrank’s video. 36 seconds of video of the full dance is further uploaded by @FilthyFrank. Despite all this, the video has only a few thousand views.
4. The black out at the SuperBowl happens and corporations like OREO jump on the opportunity to promote. The following Monday, everyone is talking about the blackout, not the commercials, and the the next big thing in marketing.
5.Maker Studios, a Los Angeles
outfit, AD AGENCY is the fourth entity to make a Harlem Shake video after one of its employees sees it on Reddit and thinks it could go viral.Maker is partly owned by Time Warner. It promotes the video across all its YouTube channels and on Twitter.
6.EDMSnob, a dance music blogger, writes Baauer on Twitter, pointing out one of @FreakyFrank’s videos.
7.Baauer and his label, including producer Diplo, promote the video heavily. Their tweets point to the Australian version. Six twitter accounts were driving views to YouTube who paid Baauer each time the video is viewed.
8. Corporations join the muck and upload their own videos to benefit themselves. They include Buzzfeed, IAC and College Humor. BuzzFeed encourages people to make their own videos in an article. Huffington Post writes about it, The Today Show does its own video. By this time, there are thousands of videos, so much so that The Atlantic declares it dead. Google is paying Bauuer and the other corps while people are thinking this phenomenon is organic.
9. All the corporations make money while @FilthyFrank gets not even a reply from @baauer on Twitter.
Ashton’s article breaks it down better than I can so read it there.