The meme first started gaining traction last week and is attributed to a silly video from a vlogger named "Filthy Frank." Though it was another user named SunnyCoastSkate who then established the form we've become familiar with: the jump cut, the helmet, etc.
From there, the spin-offs spread very quickly. As of the 11th, around 12,000 "Harlem Shake" videos had been posted since the start of the month and they'd already been watched upwards of 44 million times. As you can see in the chart below, over 4,000 of these videos are being uploaded per day and that number is still likely on the rise.
One of the unique directions the trend took rather early was spawned by the staff of Maker Studios, who created what's currently the currently most-viewed version from their office. While it could have just remained a college-kid fad, Maker's version helped signal that the trend was something any organization or office could be a part of, with other companies joining them like...
|College Humor||The Chive|
Musicians Matt and Kim produced a pretty epic one that's been circulated widely on social media. It's been performed by the young... and the old.
Some of the many subgroups we've seen are swim teams and U.S. service academies, and there are plenty more on the way, we're sure.
Update (2/15): It turns out plenty more were on the way. As of Valentine's day the number of "Harlem Shake" videos has increased to around 40,000 -- based on video title -- and those videos now have 175 million views. Here's an update to the above chart: