Harlem Responds to the Harlem Shake
According to Gmail it was 10 days ago, February 9. That’s when a friend emailed me some “Harlem Shake” videos and said he wanted to jump on the bandwagon to promote a local nonprofit. My exact words, looking back at my response, included “stupid” and “people are bored.”
I usually enjoy a decent viral video but this seemed cheap. It was copycatting and did not involve unique ideas. Nobody was building on the idea, only adding to the amount of product that was available. Though I wasn’t a fan, like many others I failed to even question its authenticity.
As the “Harlem Shake” fad winds down, it’s interesting to hear from the neighborhood that invented the dance. Watching this film by Schlepp Films can teach a lesson that many reporters already know: do your own research. In other words, don’t just build on what you are presented with, dig deeper.
Listen to the people being interviewed and give some thought to how many tweets, posts, or videos we respond to without properly digesting their content or questioning the source. We need to do more of that before we provide a thoughtful response or more often, silence.
Brian Adams (@brianadamspr) is the US Communications Director @WildAid. He also consults with nonprofits, including Komera Project and Samahope, regarding communications strategy. Brian was previously Senior Director of Communications at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and the head of Media and Community Relations for the MSPCA-Angell. A version of this story first ...