How to organize a Flash Mob

To protest, to celebrate, as a tribute, as a symptom of support… in recent years the format of “flashmob” has become fashionable and is used to materialize collective actions that pursue the same goal.

WHAT IS THE FLASH MOB?

As its own word indicates, it is an organized, collective action, which takes place in a public place and during a short period of time.

Its call is usually made through social networks or telematic media. These communications usually begin with a message in which a person informs of the day and time at which the action will take place. Its content can be released a few minutes before at the same place chosen or at a nearby point, if people have been summoned to that place to arrive in a group. However, it has also been the case that the participants knew the content in advance and had time to prepare it.

how to organize a flash mob
how to organize a flash mob

ORIGIN OF THE FLASH MOB

According to the researchers, the flashmob phenomenon began with the publication of Howard Rheingold’s “The Next Social Revolution” in 2002. In this book, the author predicted that people would use communication technologies for self-organization. That idea led Rob Zazueta, from San Francisco, to create the website Flocksmart.com where meetings of those known as “mobbers” began to be planned. These meetings led to the first flash mob, although without much success. It was in Manhattan, on June 3, 2003. It was called by Bill Wasik, editor of Harper’s Magazine, and it turned out to be a failure because someone leaked information about what was going to happen before it happened.

Shortly afterwards, on June 17, 2003, New York was the scene of the first flash mob that was ever executed. It was reconvened by Wasik. To avoid the problems of the first attempt, the organizer met, a few minutes before the start, with the participants in four nearby areas. There he informed them about what they were going to do. This action was attended by one hundred people who went up to the ninth floor of a department store, where they sat around what they called “The Love Rug”.

Howard Rheingold
Howard Rheingold

TYPOLOGY OF FLASHMOB

At present and due to the wide use that is made of this technique, there are different words to designate the different actions. The most frequent are: smartmobs, absurdmobs, freezemobs, kissmobs, dance flashmob and false flashmobs.

Thus, for example, those with a social or political objective are called smartmobs. Examples of this were the Arab Spring movements or the 15-M movement.

Actions that seek to invade the social order with absurd gestures made collectively are classified as absurdmobs. The first one took place in Barcelona in 2006 and consisted of a group of 25 people kicking cans of a well-known soft drink in the Plaza del Borne. The freezemobs are actions in which the participants are immobilized for a few seconds, as if they were statues. And, as you can imagine, kissmobs are activities in which people, instantly, kiss each other.

Dance flashmob is one of the most popular interventions. In it, at the beginning of a music, all the people dance a previously agreed choreography. One of the most popular was held in April 2010 as a tribute to Michael Jackson. And it wasn’t the only one, since a similar one had been performed in the Philippines a year before.

Finally, the false flashmobs are the ones that are made in promotional actions. That is, here dancers and artists simulate a traditional flashmob including products of the brand that organizes it. Among the advertising campaigns carried out simulating this technique are those of
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Ikea in Madrid to announce their new catalogue or that of the KLM company at Malaga airport, which included the members of the Paco Rabanne dance company.

FLASH MOB TO COLLECT

The flashmob has also been used to raise funds. The most recent one has happened in Spain, where the Peace Hospital of Madrid won the Pink Glove Dance 2013 contest. For this, the organizers mobilized workers, friends and supporters who performed a musical theme using balloons and pink gloves to raise awareness about breast cancer. Their more than thirteen million views led them to win the first prize in the European version of the event, which had been launched by Medline Hospital in the United States. These funds will finance research on this type of cancer.

Finally we leave you a nice Flashmob of Raw Meat 2.0 in an unemployment office, nice way to face a harsh reality.

and you just like music or also dance to it in a flash mob ?