‘Gangnam Style’ Vs. ‘Harlem Shake’ And How Two Memes Were Born [Infographic]

gangnam style and harlem shake

South Korean entertainer PSY gave us “Gangnam Style” in 2012, throwing the Internet and pop culture into a giant blender with a catchy tune, a crazy horse dance and the complete abandonment of human self-awareness as evidenced by the endless parodies and tribute videos that followed.

Then, in early 2013, it happened again with the mysteriously ubiquitous “Harlem Shake,” another strange song and dance, easily replicated and instantly shareable, but with unclear origins.

Both were insanely popular, but they spread across the zeitgeist in very different ways. Where “Gangnam Style” was a head-on, balls-out immediate success, “Harlem Shake” achieved popularity through whispers and over time.

How was it done? An infographic from the UK-based agency Face (cribbed here from SocialTimes) compares the two memes and shows how they spread through social media and into Internet legend. Both succeeded on the backs of views and shares over time, as well as social networks and influencers that gave each little boosts.

Check it out below, and let us know what you think. Which do you prefer, “Gangnam Style,” or “The Harlem Shake?”

Gangnam Style Harlem Shake

Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.


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