The moment it pranced its way onto the set of the "Today" show on Thursday morning, complete with shiny heart props and Al Roker in Cupid wings, it became official: The Harlem Shake viral video dance phenomenon had become a mainstream trend.
But just in case you're not familiar with this hilarious Internet meme, here's what you need to know about its official rules and dance moves:
(1) There are no official rules and dance moves.
(2) Unofficially, don a motorcycle helmet or some form of identity-concealing headgear, maybe a Nixon mask or a horse head, because you may not want future employers to see this.
(3) Cue "Harlem Shake," the heavy-beat electronic earworm and engage in pelvic thrusts in the direction of your webcam, repeatedly, with enough vigor to potentially throw out your back.
(4) Bring in all your friends. Then totally wig out!
Now upload it all to YouTube and you're instantly connected to something so viral, so virulent it has become such a full-blown pandemic the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should get involved.
What may just be a flash dance in the pan has jolted South Korea's PSY "Gangnam Style" video -- with its more than 1 billion Internet views -- into the oblivion of so last month.
YouTube trends manager Kevin Allocca said they've logged more than 44 million views on the 12,000-plus Harlem Shake videos uploaded so far -- more pop up each day -- featuring everything from
The Harlem Shake name comes from a dance move in the 1980s that made a comeback in 2011 as the title of the cut produced by New York-based DJ Baauer. Then in late January, four dudes in unitards and masks posted a video under the vlogger name Filthy Frank in what is now considered the production that launched a thousand more videos.
How does this kind of Internet contagion happen? Alex Debelov, CEO of Virool, a San Francisco firm that helps people promote their YouTube videos, says everybody thinks their video is so fantastic it'll go viral on its own.
That rarely happens, he says, because "there's so much content now -- 1.5 million videos are uploaded to YouTube every single day." It takes somebody like Jimmy Kimmel or a site like Reddit to pick it up, showcase it, tweet it out," he said. "Then it goes crazy."
The video is also short; the quick-hit, 30 seconds of silliness means people can consume dozens on lunch breaks alone.
"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," said Oliver Wang, a pop-culture writer and scholar. "I think the meme-ness has partially to do with the pleasures of dancing yourself silly."
Some purists dispute that it's a "dance" at all, much less anything resembling the original Harlem Shake, which combined a little side-to-side shoulder shimmy with some shaking of the forearms.
But it seems the various parodies' 44 million views make that kind of a moot point.
Follow Angela Hill at Twitter.com/giveemhill.