Have you ever seen a number of regular looking people taking part in a bizarre, out of the blues act? First thought to your mind – they must be crazy… something definitely weird is going on… The answer is very simple. You’ve just become a witness of the flash mob.
A flash mob as a term appeared in 2003 to denote a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of protest, advertisement, entertainment, or satire. Usually all the details about the event are spread around the members via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.
The first flash mob was created in Manhattan in May 2003, by Bill Wasik, senior editor of Harper’s Magazine. In the summer of 2003, e-mails from firstname.lastname@example.org began to circulate inviting people to convene in a public place to take part in a random act with the sole purpose of confusing others. The first successful mob took place in a New York Macy’s.
More than 100 people converged upon the ninth floor rug department of the store, gathering around an expensive rug. Anyone approached by a sales assistant was advised to say that the gatherers lived together in a warehouse on the outskirts of New York, that they were shopping for a “love rug”, and that they made all their purchase decisions as a group. Subsequently, 200 people flood the lobby and mezzanine of the Hyatt hotel in synchronized applause for about 15 seconds, and a shoe boutique in Soho, Manhattan was invaded by participants pretending to be tourists on a bus trip.
Bill Wasik’s idea was a beginning of the further development for flash mob movement around the world. According to an interview with stayfreemagazine.org, his goal was to create an internet meme where people would simply be invited to do nothing to become part of the next big thing.
Meanwhile someone could think flash mob is nothing more than a silly time wasting activity, in reality it has been a part of projects promotion in marketing, advertisement, PR technologies and might be even a tool to push political ideologies. Nowadays, advertising campaigns or public protests with elements of flash mob are becoming a frequent way of self expression to put a spotlight on specific ideas, to the extent of recruiting people or hiring professionals that are paid to perform.
Watch more flash mobs:
Videos of flash mobs: Watch how the public participates :)
1- The world record for the biggest entertainment flash mob: Oprah’s 24’th season-party, Chicago, USA
2- An advertisement flash mob: Liverpool Street Station danced to create this special T-Mobile advert
Flash mobs will continue as long as people are amused by taking part in random acts of self expression.