The rise of the flash mobs

Just like a herd of gazelle majestically galloping to the same beat, a flash mob incorporates the passion and free expression of a group of individuals. Walking through a public place, the experience of unexpected dancing routines or movements by a flash mob can surprise and enlighten you. Imagine seeing a group of people performing for the public when you least expect to witness such an expression of sudden gathering. Coming from a personal level, a flash mob is one of the most exciting things I have ever come across. The first flash mob I witnessed was at the The Grove in Los Angeles, where a group of people danced in sync to Deadmau5 music. It left me wondering why these flash mobs don’t occur on a daily basis, since it looked really awesome.

A flash mob is a group of people who suddenly assemble in a public place and perform a dance routine or just chant in unison to get people’s attention. They perform an unusual and sometimes pointless act, but they tend to attract many onlookers. Most flash mobs are meant to distract people in an interesting and comedic way, using outbursts of sudden moves or chanting. Still, some rare cases are used violently, similar to riots.

Most flash mobs are constructed through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools. Recently, flash mobs have become more violent and have been used for committing crimes around the U.S. and other parts of the world. According to a Los Angeles Times article, “Flash mobs, riots prompt debate about social media crackdown,” and “social-media-fueled riots in England and flash-mob violence in several American cities, including Philadelphia and Cleveland.” Police and officials have had a hard time figuring out how they can legally crack down on flash mobs that gathered via social media.

It is impossible to stop anyone from using social media to communicate with others, no matter what their intent. With so much new technology being introduced to society, social media has defined how we interact with one another.

Even celebrities are using social media to create a flash mob. According to the Los Angeles Times, rapper The Game tweeted to his 580,000 followers that if they wanted an internship with him they should call a phone number, which turned out to be the number for the sheriff's Compton station.   The Game’s tweet for a flash mob to form and call the Compton police station brought the station’s phone lines into a meltdown.

There are many fun and friendly flash mobs that have been formed as well. For instance, one of the most popular flash mob gathering occurred in London in 2006 called, "The Silent Disco." The dancers set a specific time and place to perform their act and, since it attracted a lot of people, it eventually caused the local police to enforce crowd control around the area.

Flash mobs should be created purely for entertainment and not to annoy or make people feel uncomfortable. The most memorable flash mob was the “Worldwide Pillow Fight Day,” where more than 5,000 people gathered for a massive pillow fight in New York City and all over the world breaking the world record of the biggest flash mob in history.

On August 29th, the day Michael Jackson would have turned 53 years old, many around the world paid a birthday tribute to the King of Pop. The “Thrill the World Flash Mob, dressed like Michael Jackson and danced to his biggest hits for the public on Hollywood Boulevard.

If you are out in public going about your daily life and you find yourself hearing music or seeing a group of people gathering and in unison either dancing, chanting or rioting, then you have experienced a flash mob. Some may be violent, but most are just to attract your attention and entertain the public. Flash mobs are rare to encounter, but they occur on a daily basis all over the world, with positive or negative outcomes.