First flash mobs, now the Harlem Shake. What’s next?
SOCIAL WELLNESS – Stay connected! Volunteer in the community, take classes, visit with friends, join online social networks.
PHYSICAL WELLNESS – Stay active! As little as 10 minutes of physical activity, three times a day, five days a week meets the guidelines.
EMOTIONAL WELLNESS – Be mindful of how you feel! Engage in mindfulness activities such as yoga and tai chi; talk with your doctor or counselor if you’re feeling blue.
The Flash Mob was born in the summer of 2003 in New York City by a man named Bill Wasik. His full identity wasn’t revealed until three years later in 2006. His goal was “to create an internet meme (an idea that would spread from person to person in a culture) where people would simply be invited to do nothing to become part of the next big thing.”
The first Flash Mob I remember seeing on the Internet was a mob inconspicuously mixed in with Christmas shoppers at a mall food court who began, one by one, singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Unsuspecting shoppers were surprised as more voices joined in the chorus, and cell phones were turned to video or camera mode to capture the moment.
Flash Mobs spread around the world to other large metropolitan areas. There have been Flash Mobs with political purposes, along with other variations such as Freeze Mobs, which is self-explanatory. By and large, the Flash Mobs’ purpose was to do something absurd and catch the unsuspecting by surprise. In other words, to create random acts of silliness that brought people together who were bound through a virtual network into a grand scheme in the physical world.
Following the Flash Mob and its various forms, the Harlem Shake was born and went viral in February 2013. The Harlem Shake is a new internet meme that usually lasts 30-32 seconds and uses the same excerpt of music by electronic musician Baauer. The Harlem Shake can be accomplished with one or more people who are all video-tapped acting naturally, when one person in the group starts dancing without anyone else in the group noticing. About half way through the video, if there is more than one participant, everyone in the room suddenly appears in crazy costumes with strange props dancing and shaking for the remainder of the video.
I’ve seen renditions of the Harlem Shake performed by groups who appear to be affiliated with the military, retirement communities, an office, a newsroom, a classroom and more; groups that are limited only by your imagination as thousands are uploaded to the web daily. Personally, I get a kick out of them. They lift my spirit. (Some can be a little risqué, as there are always those who push the envelope.)
I enjoy seeing people from all walks of life creating random acts of silliness. I enjoy catching people in the act of “being” instead of the all-too-often serious act of “doing.” The Harlem Shake has brought people from all generations and cultures together to “shake” off the seriousness of life and simply be silly. That’s life in our virtual world today. What’s not to enjoy?