Harlem Shake Goes Viral

By Lorne Fultonberg

Harlem Shake Goes Viral

February 18, 2013 Updated Feb 19, 2013 at 1:36 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Harlem Shake is everywhere. A search on YouTube returns thousands of videos of people dancing in every imaginable place. Even at Binghamton University.

"We all thought we could make one just as good if not better," said Joe Watson, a BU Freshman from West Islip, N.Y. "So we just had the idea there."

With six of his friends -- and without a camera -- Watson made his 30-second version of the song that has spread across the country and even the world.

"It just goes to show that anyone can do it," he said. "It's a big thing."

A comedy video blogger, Filthy Frank, used the song by New York Producer Bauuer in a video of his posted Jan. 30. A few Australian teens made a parody video. The Harlem Shake took off.

In each video, one person begins to dance as the rest of the surrounding scene goes about its business, as if oblivious to the dancer. Then at the 15-second mark, the shot jumps to a large crowd of costumed people doing their own dances.

"I feel like everyone can just make the video their own," Watson said. "It's just like their own little spin off."

Since then YouTube says more than 4,000 Harlem Shake videos are being uploaded every day, garnering more than 44 million views. The song -- almost unknown before the video -- is the second most popular song on Apple's iTunes.

At the Chabad Center on Binghamton University's campus, the Harlem Shake -- or "Purim Shake" as it is called -- has been used for a different purpose: Advertising Chabad's annual Purim Carnival.

"We're not just doing it for fun," said Rabbi Levi Slonim, Director of Programming and Development at the Chabad Center. "There's a purpose and a meaning behind it."

Freshman Schachar Avraham sees it as a way to grab attention.

"It's a way of giving life to the event," he said. "Before the event, people get excited about it, they see a flier, it's just words. But when they see other people getting excited about the event through a video or something like that or an action, I think it gives off a lot more."