Magazine article Technology & Learning

Flash Mobbing in California

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Flash Mobbing in California

Article excerpt

"Random acts of mass absurdity," "public displays of pure wackiness," "strange antics," "inane activities"--these are just a few of the descriptors the international press is using to define the actions of a "flash mob," the newest tech-enabled craze garnering headlines these days.

In case you're out of the loop, the basics of a flash mob are file following: 200-300 people show up in one spot suddenly and from different directions; on signal, they perform some inexplicable act for 10 minutes; and then just as suddenly, disperse. All of this has been planned and communicated ahead of time via e-mail, blogs, or online forums. In Cambridge, 200 people mobbed a Harvard bookstore in search of a cam lot "Bill"; in Berlin, mobsters showed up in front of the U.S. Embassy wearing funny hats and popped champagne corks toasting "Natasha!"; in Rome, they descended on a record store and asked fur nonexistent titles; in Manhattan, they stood on a Hyatt Hotel balcony clapping at nothing.

Never one to be left out of the fun, of course, California has been seeing its own brand of flash mobs. In San Francisco, a mob twirled across Market Street; another played "Duck, Duck, Goose" in a city park. But the goofiest antics are taking place in a different California city: Sacramento. There, a larger, more extended flash mob, the mother ship of flash mobs, if you will, is unfolding. The wackiness there is called the recall election.

Yes, the election to recall Governor Gray Davis got underway with a bang, with all citizens invited to participate in the party pranks. …

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