Friday, October 03, 2003

Disperse Now. 

The Flash is gone.

The Mob trails off in different directions, leaving nothing of substance or significance in the street.

Whimsy is no match for autumn, with its cold winds. Trucker hats are traded for touques.

Were they silly? Occasionally.

Stupid? Most of the time.

Smart? No.

Mobs are about the power of many, in the pursuit of nothing.

But over the past months, some have stepped forward, confused the sheep, made the mob their own.

One person can make a difference.

And that's the lesson, kids.

In a time of war, of recession, of doubt and deceit, that might mean something.

Now, disperse.

--- flash out ---

Thursday, September 11, 2003

The end is nigh! and HACKED! 

OM Bill's last stand, NY flashmob #8, went down, but not the way intended:

satanslaundromat explains:

"The intended performer was a recorded message on a boom box. Instead, a man with a bright neon sign reading "Cafe Thou Art" in a suitcase hijacked the mob by displaying his sign and making a peace sign with his right hand. (Who carries a neon sign in a suitcase?) The crowd, playing along and not realizing the neon sign was an interloper, briefly chanted "Peace, peace, peace!", drowning out the boom box."

More on the end of Mob, to come....

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Your Worst Nightmare. 

Remember that little worry and warning about a Corporate HACK of the Mob, through Guerilla Marketing?

Well the Suits are thinking hard about exploiting the innocence.

At Turn Flash Mobs into Flash Customers, James Hering contends:

Most make you do something inane, like sing a song at a specific time, or hop like a bunny for five minutes, then disperse. But most retail-driven marketing efforts have the goal of getting a lot of people to do the same thing at a specific time. It's not all that different.

What's this mean for marketers? It's a prime opportunity to really study the power of the Internet and to craft similar (but sane) efforts to drive customer transactions and interactions at lower cost.

If it is all Viral, what's the cure?

Mommas, don't let your cowboys grow up to be babies. 

It was a long time gone, but peruse this here Austin, Texas HACK.

Courtesy of Schamea The Third comes a report of anti-social engineering at Austin Flash Mob #2:

All was going to plan.  That is, until the Ninja guys showed up. They hurled buckets of water (along with dry blue bath towels and flyers of their own) at the mob and skulked off into the early Austin evening.  Henceforth, they shall forever be dubbed the Austin Splash Mobbers.

Video provided via FOX.

More @ austin.about

Nothin' to see here. Move along, now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

FLASH! The end of Mob!? 

Has O.M. Bill from New York called an end to the madness? Flashmob.uk reports on the 7th NY mob, and adds:

"Bill announced Mob #8 to be held on 10th September will be the last.

UPDATE: The New York Times gets down (and name drops this little Blog) @ Guess Some People Don't Have Anything Better to Do:

As they say in the City:

Dead cat bounce.

Cardiff, Glasgow, you've been HACKED ... (?) 

Submitted for your approval....

From the deepest recesses of the information superhighway, your blogger gets mysterious mail.

The sender, one "phantom_spammer", who claims a bit of social engineering in the Cardiff Flashmob board.

The message:

I would like to think that the Cardiff Flash mobs first event getting a turnout of 10, was in part due to my small efforts. They were expecting 140+. Yes it's true what you wrote


The phrases "piss up in a brewery" and "headless chickens" comes to mind when reading the posts and suggestions of this embryonic flash group.

Other traces of HACKING, presented by the mobber Harry for all to read @ flash-mobbing.co.uk:

...on Thursday I made a BIG mistake.

Another group had been planning a flash mob event for Glasgow only they wanted it to be next Saturday.
We couldn't understand why they wanted to wait, but all we got was talk of needing 500 or wanting maximium (sic) press publicity.

However we managed to convince them that this Saturday was better.

Believing that there are no leaders only the mob, we even let them choose where the hit was going to be and what it was going to be.

...That's when I realised I'd made a BIG mistake.

And my mates let me know it in no uncertain terms as well.

Why did I let someone we didn't even know stop us making the hit?

Why did I let what was a far smaller group take over and prevent us from doing the hit? Why was this group so fixated with getting media attention and 500 people? Why did you have to give this group your life story just to join? What was the point of talking about flash mobbing in a forum anyway when you could be out doing it?

And the truth was I'd f*cked up.

Hacked or Not?

Send in the clowns.

Friday, August 22, 2003

If things go a bit dodgy, ah jist cannae be bothered, ken? 

Raise a dram of single malt or Irn Bru to Stewart Kirkpatrick at The New Scotsman for a bit 'o mob-bashing and revealing the real reason media likes a flash:

Summer. A time of warm(er) weather, holidays, cricket on the green and tripe in the newspapers.

Its silly season.

Pure boredom.

Maybe that's why mobs are flopping.

Defective Yeti's Blog says it time to clean up the mess.

You guessed it: flashmopping

Clean up in aisle five please.

Didn't you kill my Flash Mob? 

Why Mob, when you can Mug?

My droogs across the pond at Flashmugging propose a bit 'o the old horrorshow, to liven up the whimsy.

Separating hipsters from their ipods seem to be the main purpose of the graphic-rich blog.

They steal some flashhack ideas in the process. Gimme a pod and we'll call it even.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Flash out. 

courtesy: reuters

Witness the City fall into darkness.

Fifty million people, unplugged.

So they wander, and talk, and meet neighbours they never knew they had.

And sleep on roofs. And stare at stars now unmasked.

Look up.

Who says the world lacks silliness? And joy?

And wonder?


Flash out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

My Definition is this. 

Via SmartMobs:

Anil Dash, Biz Development VP at Six Apart (the co. behind Blog goodness typepad and movabletype) notes:

Mobs are truly the flagpole-sitting of the new millennium. ....Flash Mobs are striking in that they are an affinity event for people who have no affinity group. A Meetup for people who like Meetups. How much more meta can it get? None. None more meta.

And he adds a new definition courtesy the Devil's Dictionary:

flash mob, noun: An impromptu gathering, organized by means of electronic communication, of the unemployed.


Sheep Going South. 

So what's the deal with DUCKS?

Flocking in the face of any surprise and originality, flashmobs from San Fran to Montreal are waddling in flurry of feather fetishism.

snowchyld proposes a hack for an upcoming SA Flash, in the Forum:

Pretend everyone coming out of the Cape Town convention center is a duck,
and its duck season, use your imaginary gun to mow them down ... will see if this works.

Yourrrrrrr’re dithpicable.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Cable snaps. 

Angry funnyman Bill Maher (the other Bill?) rants:

EXTRA: People Still Sheep: ...In that sense it’s a bit like the custom of mass church attendance on Sundays. Flash mobs combine the pointlessness of chain letters with the adolescent inanity of "Everybody cough at exactly 2:08!" rituals in high school. They also prove several points I’ve been arguing for years: the Internet is evil.

Speaking of evil, Microsoft's media covergence experiment MSNBC points to this little Blog, via Will Femia's Weblog Central:

Too late: Well THAT didn’t take long! I guess anything that gets so popular so quickly without having any actual purpose is bound to draw scorn.

A quack, spin, and shout out to you, Will.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Deathmatch: The Evil Twins 

It all started when a young man had a simple idea: call your friends, get a crowd, ask people to do something silly, and document it for the record.

He wasn't sure if they'd follow. But he asked. And they did!

His name was Joe.

And it was the MOB FLASH

Then he realized the internet could only make it better. In fact, technology made it what it is today,

Now, some were embarrassed. Some were confused. Even angry.

But a lot of people thought it was just good harmless fun.

College students loved it. Stars and hipsters thought it ironic.
And middle America was just swept away.

But a deep confusion reigned. Both so alike, trapped in the same pop culture universe.

Social engineering or Engineering Social? Evocative or exploitative? Surreal or "Are they real"?

Or is it, in the end, all just masturbation?

Mobs gone Stupid or Girls Gone Wild!

Only Democracy can decide:

Tastes Great. Less Filling. 

Mobs are hard work.

So Steve in Boston calls for the King of Mobs, a Beer Mob

Naturally, this leads to the earlier mentioned BarfMob

Which reminds me of, well this Kid, our age, but he's fat, real fat ...

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Social Engineering A Flash Mob: a primer. 

So here you are: one of civilization's most powerful forms of communication at your fingertips. You get the message, you're in the exclusive secret agent club of mobsters. Now you're surrounded by 500 strangers about to suddenly, and quietly, make the world a better place.

Once upon a time it may have been thus.

But now it hits you: I'm an idiot.

Suckered into this summer's equivalent of roller disco, goldfish swallowing and college streaking, masked in half-assed anarchistic theory and hipster cred.

The act isn't altruistic or artistic, the participants are self-absorbed, onlookers are irritated, media suck it in.

But you have a real choice:

Hack the Flash

Don't be sheep.

Don't follow orders.

Mobs are anonymous. There's no formal leader, so everyone shares the responsibility (or irresponsibility). But some are more equal than others.

Mobs are highly suggestible. Given direction, sheep will follow. In fact, the success of the Flash Mob wholly depends on the participants mindlessly following orders. (Even if they disregard the rules.)

So social engineer away: Hit the Mobboards. Hand out your own instructions. Stand out from the crowd.

For what purpose?

Political? Social? Sweet revenge? Pure dumb humour? Perhaps, money?

Just to see how far the Flash mob will follow?

You can reclaim Mobs. Take it to new highs or lows.

The only credo: Tell em they've been hacked.

And enjoy that "surreal moment of wonderment."

Flash Anger. 

Mobs are anonymous. The participants don't take responsibility for their actions or words.

Kevin, on the other hand, at incestuousamplification lays it out, takes the heat.

"Let's hope that the cops start responding to flash-mobs with tazers and rubber bullets.  I'm serious about this.  If tax dollars are going to be spent on policemen standing around watching a group of assholes, we may as well get a real show and get our money's worth."

Hey, I'm more Mahatma than militant.

But Blog on, bro.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Your Father's Flash Mob 

telephone cramming

Who needs technology?

The Media hates you. 

The NY Times and Science Monitor rain on the parade.

Such fickle friends.

But its not about the media, really, is it?

The Media loves you. 

O.M. (Original Mobster) Alex at Mob(b)log sighs from the underground:

"I think it's time for me to give up this blog, now that the phenomenon has reached the New York Times."

Track the media hype, (2).

Track the blog hype, (2).

The Clown Conspiracy: laughing at you, not with you. 

Everyone, of course, likes a clown.

They're fun, and whimsical, and and silly, and everything that can and should bring joy to Mobs.

Unless, as FlashmobUK reports, they're hacking your scene:

"Although Mobs are organized for fun purposes only, one only has to wait for something unexpected and unwanted to happen. The mob-crowd easily distracts attention from pickpockets and shoplifters for example. And the increasing popularity also attracts people that are not willing to play following the rules. First people wearing clown-outfits have been reported.'

The counter-revolution has begun.

And clowns shall be the commandos.

Table for One. 

Did you ever call a Flashmob and no one showed up?

I bet folks in Nashua, NH, are flocking to the food court for the quirky, whimsical, joyous experience that is the mob.

So why don't we ever hear about these failures?

Share your sadness in the Forum.

The mob won't be there, but I will.

I'm listening.

Friday, August 08, 2003

The European Front: I was just following orders. 

Those Germans know a thing about mobs. Actually, last century it was two things.

So it comes as no surprise that my Deutsche Freunde (translation here) should so enthusiastically embrace the idea of Flashmobs (translation).

OK: The Baghdad Flashmob is great laugh. (translation)

Thankfully there is "Flash Mobs Suck!" to set die Schafe straight. Granted, it loses something in the translation).

UPDATE:"NoFlashMob" responds:
"Hacking" a Flashmob was the first idea, but aggressive reactions from Users showed, that they take this useless stuff serious and any counterattack could be dangerous. But the hype has already gone (ok - not everybody realized it so far) and this make any further actions unnecessary."

Hating the Flash Mob isn't the same as hacking it.

Rise of the AntiMob 

Props to Sean at CheeseBikini? for the link and the (just hours old!) AntiMob movement.

Yes. That's right. Hours old. The power of the internet to free the mind and set bodies loose from the control of the Flashmob.

The AntiMob Project knows what I'm talking about.

fight the power. zig when they zag. be your own freak.

You can set the rules.

But will the sheepster hip follow?

Are Corporations controlling the Flashmob? 

TVGUY at Flashmob.info: Sheep Central notes that in the past two days, two mobs have hit the Toys-R-Us: one in New York, one in Toronto.

Is the smell of guerilla marketing, overpowering the love, kids?

UPDATE: Peep the Flashmob.info thread

Hacking the Flash Mob: Manifesto 

How is it possible that a technology with such potential to empower the individual -- has turned into an irritating clique-machine for the hipster sheep?

You know what I'm talking about.


This self-proclaimed movement of self-empowering "spontaneous" public performance has reached internet critical mass in just three months.

Hundreds have gathered to embarrass themselves in New York. More than once. And it is spreading.

Berlin, that epitome of existential cool, has succumbed. But I feel no shadenfreude.

Flash Mobs don't even deserve to hit places like Akron and Boise, though I am sure they soon will.

Like Trucker Caps, soul-patches, and the I Kiss You Guy: it is a stupid idea that got bigger, and stupider, before anyone had the good sense and guts to smack it down.

So: Let's put it all to a silly death right now.


Its time to social engineer the texting, blackberry-checking, cell-phone sheep that promote this waste of public space.

Flash Mobs: Your 15 minutes are over.

Disperse now.

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