UWindsor Lance: Do you concur? Flash mobs were a flash in the pan; let them die

UWindsor Lance
Issue 34, Volume 85
March 13, 2013
Jon Liedtke

Now that The Harlem Shake phase has fizzled out of recent memory and Gangam Style effectively in the annals of obscurity, I think it’s high time to engage in a I serious dialogue.


When a video reaches a couple hundred million hits on YouTube the unwritten rule is that it must be copied, parodied, reframed and sent through the echo chamber that is the collective consciousness known as the internet.

We all get that these videos constitute fads and that as such, fads demand to be recreated, but it’s getting annoying and frankly embarrassing for all involved— the
viewer and the creators.

While recreation videos are all done in good fun, the fact that they persist for months afterwards is just getting depressing.

The first time I heard Gangam Style I laughed and moved on. I’ll admit that I truly enjoyed Mitt Romney style and that I thought it was a pretty good parody video.

But then they kept coming.

Student groups held flash mobs on campuses across the globe in an effort to jump on the bandwagon.

Local media— knowing the virality of flash mobs and viral videos— sought to increase and secure ratings by reporting on them.

Next, it was not-for-profits seeking to get in on the action and take part in the viral experience, which in turn gave way to for-profit enterprises creating embarrassingly cringe worthy videos to promote their own brands. Before you know it, months had passed since the original viral video was posted and it was still deeply embedded in the collective consciousness.

And then it stopped for a blissful couple of weeks.

Enter The Harlem Shake and the whole process started over again: the recreations, the parodies, the jokes on late-night shows, the sketches, the conversations in
passing … it gets to be too much.

With social media, it’s easier than ever to share bits of media with friends and family so it’s to be expected that media can go viral much quicker than ever before. But that doesn’t mean that it should.

So, I plead, do you concur, that we should just give it a rest?

UWindsor Lance
Do you concur? Flash mobs were a flash in the pan; let them die
Issue 34, Volume 85
March 13, 2013
Jon Liedtke
Page 11

Jon Liedtke was the Features and Opinions Editor, Associate News Editor, Advertising Manager and Deficit Consultant at the UWindsor Lance.


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