Every so often there’s a YouTube phenomenon that makes you think, “Why?” And regardless of trying to avoid it, you’re surrounded by the chaos. You might remember the one around a year ago, maybe? Well, this past month, it’s the Harlem Shake that’s been all the rage. A video that averages around 30 seconds and begins with a random person dancing alone. About 10 seconds in, the music breaks and everyone once pictured working, minding their own business has now joined in on the fun and dancing like they have never before. I wish I was making this up.

Know Your Meme describes the Harlem Shake as so…

Harlem Shake is a popular style of hip hop dance and the title of a 2012 heavy bass instrumental track produced by Baauer. In February 2013, the song spawned a series of dance videos that begin with a masked individual doing the Harlem Shake alone in a group before suddenly cutting to a wild dance party featuring the entire group.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hpEnLtqUDg

Up until recently, I thought I had seen it all. But, the folks over at Moovweb 1-uped everyone and released an awesome bookmarklet that allowed anyone to do the recently famous jig. CNN? Check. The New Yorker? Check. And any other website you can think of thanks to the nifty script. I saw a few people mention this magical bookmarklet, and thought to myself, “I bet we could build on top of that to have it play on queue to get some laughs.” So, we grabbed the code from Moovweb’s Github and went at it. It was a great success. It was funny to listen to the office as it moved from one side to another as people played it and had forgotten to turn down their speakers. This type of thing doesn’t happen easily though. It takes a some pretty fantastic developers with a good sense of humor to pull it off, and we hattip the Moovweb guys for doing just that.

I reached out to them and got their thoughts on their project…

We’re just some engineers who had a silly idea that made us laugh. Like every other office not under a rock this week, the harlem shake videos had been going around. Naturally we thought of doing our own video, but the meme was already dying down.  On Wednesday afternoon we were tossing around video ideas and someone half-jokingly suggested a bookmarklet that madeweb pages do the harlem shake. Then somehow the joke became serious. This was the perfect way to take a half-dead meme and really beat it to death while also putting a unique geeky webdeveloper spin on it.
It didn’t take long to make a prototype but then the hard work began. We stayed up through the night perfecting it to work with more sites and iron out the bugs in time for Valentine’s Day. But it didn’t feel like work. It was a lot of fun playing around with different animations and it made us and everyone who walked by our desk burst out laughing.

I’m glad Moovweb put in the time to do something like this and allowed people to see how they did it. It brought so much happiness to the team and everyone around us.

Learn more about how they did it over at Moovweb’s blog or feel free to watch PivotDesk bust-a-move.

Matt Sisson