The meme began in late January when the original video under the video blogger name Filthy Frank was posted online depicting the four men dancing to a song cut by New York DJ Baauer, California's Bay Area News Group reported Friday.
More than 12,000 copy-cat Harlem shake videos have popped up on the Internet since then.
The videos feature one person wearing a helmet or some form of headgear doing a pelvic thrust as the music begins. Other participants ignore the dancing until the music increases and the room fills with dancers in bizarre costumes and props.
Many of the dancers do the Harlem shake, a move popularized in the 1980s in which the dancer does a side-to-side shoulder shimmy while wiggling their arms, the Bay Area News Group reported.
YouTube trends manager Kevin Allocca said the copy-cat videos feature everything from college students and office workers to baseball teams and soldiers.
Oliver Wang, a pop-culture writer, said the popularity of the Harlem shake videos most likely stems from the fact that the videos are short and easy to create.
"The meme (of the Shake) is very easy to participate in -- all you need is some basic video-editing skills and a group of people who are game to participate. A motorcycle helmet helps, too," he said. "I think the meme-ness has partially to do with the pleasures of dancing yourself silly."