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.