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Flash Mob - Flash Mob Videos Become Popular On YouTube

Updated on January 16, 2011

What is a Flash Mob?

According to the Oxford dictionary a flash mob is "a public gathering of complete strangers, organized via the Internet or mobile phone, who perform a pointless act and then disperse again". So basically, a flash mob is a group of creative people looking to have a little fun and surprise, amuse, and confuse an unsuspecting audience. They assemble in a seemingly random location at a specific time and execute a specific task in unison, then disperse rapidly as if nothing happened. They simply they meet, mob, and then move on. Most often flash mobs include some type of song or dance and are typically held in high traffic areas such as shopping malls. The members of a flash mob are inconspicuous, they aren't discernible from the audience, that is until the show starts!


Who started the Flash Mob trend?

The first flash mob was created by Bill Wasik, an editor of the Harper's Magazine, who set out an email to organize participants. It was conducted in Macy's in Manhattan where a group of more than 100 instantly gathered around an expensive rug and told store clerks they lived together and want to purchase a love rug. After 10 minutes of discussion amongst themselves and Macy's employees the crowd vanished leaving the employees throughly confused. Wasik claimed that he created flash mobs as a social experiment to encourage spontaneity and big gatherings to temporarily take over commercial and public areas simply to show that they could. Since then, thousands of groups have decided to create mobs of their own, taking to the city streets, shopping malls, department stores, local beaches, and even churches.

GLEE Flash Mob

T-Mobile Flash Mob Ad

Flash mobs have become an internet phenomenon. Videos of groups executing flash mobs are getting millions of hits on YouTube. In fact, Flash mobs have even been used by major companies such as T-Mobile and H&M as a means of advertisement. Flash mobs have become so popular the have even created an International Pillow Fight Day, where participants mob and attack each other harmlessly using pillows. You can find details of fights near your area on FaceBook. The Flash Mob trend has even caught become popular on mainstream television as it was featured on Fox's program GLEE. You can see the video on the right.

The advent of mobile communication devices that allow 24/7 internet access and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed flash mobs to gain massive popularity as participants thousands of miles away can communicate and create a strategic plan. These social communication instruments allow people to cluster around areas of mutual interest and communicate. Flash mobs are generally organized using e-mail, blogs, internet chat rooms, and social media websites and allow anyone who is interested to participate.

Is it performance art? The cutting edge of a new social movement? Or just a group of people looking for attention? Watch the embedded videos and you be the judge. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Flash Mob Videos on YouTube

Flash Mob "FREEZE"

Flash Mob on Oprah

Flash Mob Wedding - Bride at 2:40

Ohio State Flash Mob


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    • bojanglesk8 profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting, thanks.


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