Return of the flashmob as driver closed grouping

Today we had a flashmob hype in Amsterdam. The successful Stockholm Michael Jackson contributing flashmob was the inspiration for this event. However the flashmob generated lots of attention and a lot of people had a great day in preparation and executing, the flashmob failed in my opinion. The basic idea of a flashmob is to surprise a ignorant crowd by a orchestrated action done by a view. This one was the opposite. But unless the failure it could be seen as a driver for some interesting trends. Some thoughts…

The first thought is on the phenomena of the flashmob itself. We all thought the flashmob died as quickly as it grows some two years ago. The fast spread of the result via Youtube and the planning via Twitter and Facebook creates a new excitement of the actions. The spread is especially important; the creators of a flashmob become a new form of entertainers. Some 4 million people watched the Stockholm movie clips on Youtube and in Amsterdam this afternoon a couple thousand of people has exciting experience.

It is also of course another proof of the power of social media in starting a crowd without the use of mass media. The media system is really turned around where the mass media are using the initiatives that emerged out of social media. The mass media were with many represented this afternoon during the flashmob.

Both developments are however at the same time the cause of the failure of the Amsterdam flashmob. The spread in advance made it into a public performance in stead of a flashmob. I think this is directly the result of the massafication of media like Twitter. Where the initiators possibly thought to spread to a small crowd, it became a huge event. It is hard to keep it a secret. This could be a driver for a longer expected trend to more closed groups within the community tools. Groups that are created around dedicated selected people. Not as replacement but as added features. We will see.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

2 thoughts on “Return of the flashmob as driver closed grouping”

  1. I totally agree. I was there yesterday and it was great, but there were to many people just barging in and to many people only came to watch. Therefor there was no room for the ‘spontaneous’ action nor dancing. I think in Stockholm it’s practising wasn’t as free and volunteering as in Amsterdam. It was well choreographed who would step in at what time. It wasn’t possible to do so in Amsterdam, because of the juge amount of people. The organization and choreography was well thought, but it’s succes made it different as planned. I don’t think it’s a failure, I hate that word, but it turned out to be a mass event with all kinds of people loving music, dancing and making fun together. So therefor I think it totally succeeded and maybe is a new trend… who knows!

  2. Indeed, I think so too. The whole event was a great success, you can’t call it a flashmob however.
    It is interesting to see if a new form of public experience will emerge: public interactive performances.

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