devxlogo

Flash Mob

Definition

A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual act for a short time, and then quickly disperse. The purpose is often for entertainment, satire, artistic expression, or for promoting a cause. The concept surfaced in the early 2000s and events are usually organized via social media or viral emails.

Phonetic

The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Flash Mob” is: /ˈflæʃ mɑ:b/

Key Takeaways

Three Main Takeaways About Flash Mobs

  1. Unpredictability and Surprise Element: Flash mobs are spontaneous and usually unexpected. This unpredictability is a defining characteristic that differentiates a flash mob from a traditional performance. Organizers typically plan them secretly and participants gather rapidly, perform the intended action, and disperse just as quickly.
  2. Community and Unity: Flash mobs often involve large groups of strangers coming together to engage in a succinct, choreographed performance. Participation promotes a sense of community and unity, allowing individuals to feel part of a larger collective, even if the performance is temporary.
  3. Social Media and Technology: The internet, specifically social media platforms, plays a crucial role in the organization and dissemination of flash mobs. Technology enables quick and efficient communication among participants, and following the performance, videos are often uploaded online, greatly expanding the audience beyond those who were present at the event.

Importance

The term “Flash Mob” holds significant importance in the realm of technology and digital culture as it represents a new form of social interaction and expression enabled by modern communication technology. Initially coined in the early 2000s, a flash mob refers to a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual act for a brief time, and then quickly disperse. This phenomenon is typically organized through digital platforms such as social media or emails. Flash mobs have been used for various purposes including entertainment, artistic expression, advertising, protest, and even charitable causes. They highlight the power of technology in bringing together large groups of people in physical space, demonstrating how technology can blur the boundary between virtual and real-world social interaction.

Explanation

A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, or artistic expression. Rooted in the realms of social, recreational, and creative engagement, a flash mob amplifies group dynamics and interactivity to unfold something unique, surprising, and often fun-filled. This concept first emerged in the early 2000s via social and digital media platforms, progressively becoming a mainstream performance discipline.The purpose of flash mobbing typically revolves around disruption of the norm and momentary entertainment. However, with the evolution of digital media, flash mobs have been utilized for more diverse and potent purposes. These include marketing and promotional activities, social and political protests, public proposal or celebration, and raising awareness on social issues. This sort of public performance has a significant potential to grab attention and evoke public interest or reaction in an instant. Flash mobs have not only changed the dynamics of public performances but have also introduced a new dimension of spontaneous collective expression and engagement in the digital era.

Examples

1. T-Mobile’s Liverpool Street Station Flash Mob (2009): T-Mobile, a telecommunications company, orchestrated a massive flash mob at Liverpool Street Station in London as part of their “Life’s for Sharing” ad campaign. Over 300 professional dancers broken into seemingly spontaneous dance, startling and delighting commuters. The event was filmed and the video quickly went viral, making this a successful marketing campaign.2. The Sound of Music Flash Mob in Belgium (2009): In an outdoor square in Antwerp, Belgium, over 200 dancers surprised the public with a spontaneous performance of “Do Re Mi” from “The Sound Of Music.” This flash mob was organized by a local television station promoting the upcoming show “Op zoek naar Maria” and it quickly gained international recognition.3. Black Eyed Peas Flash Mob for Oprah Winfrey Show (2009): During the taping of the 24th season premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the pop group Black Eyed Peas performed their song “I Gotta Feeling” accompanied by a pre-planned flash mob. It involved over 20,000 people performing a synchronized dance routine. The participants were a mix of professional dancers and ordinary people who had learned the routine from an instructional video shared online beforehand. The surprise to both the audience and Oprah Winfrey herself, was a massive success.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q: What is a Flash Mob?**A: A Flash Mob is a large public gathering at which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse, typically organized by means of the internet or social media.**Q: Who originated the concept of Flash Mobs?**A: The concept of Flash Mobs was originated by Bill Wasik, a senior editor of Harper’s Magazine, in 2003.**Q: How are Flash Mobs organized?**A: Flash Mobs are usually organized through social media, email, and mobile phones. The details are sent to participants specifying the time, location and actions to be performed.**Q: What is the intent behind organizing a Flash Mob?**A: The intent behind a Flash Mob can vary widely from entertainment and fun to political protest or marketing purposes.**Q: Are Flash Mobs legal?**A: Flash Mobs are generally legal unless they cause issues such as breach of peace, incite violence, or cause other disturbances in public places.**Q: Do Flash Mobs require rehearsals?**A: Yes, Flash Mobs often require rehearsals, especially if the event involves coordinated dancing, singing, or other performances.**Q: How long does a Flash Mob usually last?**A: The actual performance of a Flash Mob usually lasts for a few minutes, though the planning and rehearsal stages can take days, weeks, or even months.**Q: Can anyone participate in a Flash Mob?**A: Generally, anyone invited by the organiser can participate in a Flash Mob. However, participation in certain Flash Mobs may require prior rehearsal, particularly if a coordinated performance is involved. **Q: Is there a specific location where Flash Mobs typically occur?** A: Flash Mobs can occur almost anywhere, including parks, malls, city squares, train stations or anywhere that a large number of people gather or pass through regularly.**Q: What is the largest recorded Flash Mob to date?**A: The largest recorded Flash Mob to date, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, involved over 13,500 participants in a Holi-themed event organized by Vodafone India in March 2012.

Related Finance Terms

  • Spontaneous Public Gathering
  • Social Media Coordination
  • Public Performance Art
  • Guerrilla Marketing
  • Smartphone Networking

Sources for More Information

devxblackblue

About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

devxblackblue

About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents

More Terms