How to Start a Flash Mob

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Introduction: How to Start a Flash Mob

About: Taking back the world, one hacked game console at a time ... Have you ever felt like the technology you love could be used against you? Or that the government is watching you .. a little too closely? Have...

Simple guidelines for creating a Flash Mob or Cacophonous Event.

Step 1: Have an (original) Idea

These are harder to come by than you think. Flash Mobs and Cacophonous Events aren't very effective if nobody attends and they aren't very fun if you're only aping something that's already been done in another city.

Ideally, they should be any one or combination of the following:

- Silly fun ( Pillow Fight Club, [http://Spontaneous Musical Food Court Musical])
- Subversive ( Frozen Grand Central, Critical Mass, Belarusian Ice Cream Mob, Smile Mob)
- Costumed Rampage ( Santarchy, Zombie Mob, The Brides of March)
- Benignly disruptive ( ATM Applause Mob)

A wider range of people are more likely to join you if your event does not:

- Promote a profit-making enterprise
- Exalt a specific individual or group
- Cost much (if anything) to participate in
- Have overtly political overtones (then it's a demonstration, and you will get tear gassed)

Step 2: Timing Is Everything

This refers back to the whole participation thing. If your event is spontaneous in nature and just requires people to show up at the same time and do something goofy(say, gather at a subway stop and follow the first bearded person you see as if they were Jesus), they won't need much time to prepare. The ideal time for this sort of event is at the end of the workday (between 5 and 6PM) during the week as a) the streets are more crowded and b)participants are more available. For whatever reason, Thursdays seem to be most effective.

If you are planning something more elaborate, like a Costumed Rampage, you want to give people at least a week to prepare, and preferably two. These events are most effective in heavily populated shopping and tourist areas, so Saturday afternoons work best. Note: these often turn into drunkfests.

Step 3: Get the Word Out

By now you should have figured that all of the steps actually go back to the participation thing. People can't show if they don't know.

If your event is spontaneous in nature, you can:

- Create an anonymous email account (it's best that your event not have an easily identifiable leader) and send to 50 random people in your address book. Ask them to send it along to another 20 people.
- Post to bulletin boards like www.Craigslist.org. You can post to the Events board, or target a specific demographic by posting to specific discussion forums (kink, vegan, divorce, etc.).
- you can also use sites such as www.xflashmobs.com to sms message your mob to cell phones, but this will require that you establish a contact list, which isn't very spontaneous.

If your event is more elaborate:

- Post to local event calendars and discussion groups. The following are pretty good bets:
- http://laughingsquid.com/squidlist/events/
- www.going.com
- www.yelp.com

Step 4: Step Back and Enjoy

This is your mob. You provided the ideation, the timing and the marketing. Now step away. People just really want to be led, but resist the urge. If your concept has merit, the mob will self organize and self determine into something more than you could have ever conceived. If you lead it, it will likely just become a parade. Not that there's anything wrong with parades.

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    My daughter is getting married at her her reception I would lije to perform flasmob with me her friends family to i have the time of my life with out her knowing how do we do this

    52 Comments

    I work in a large grocery store and I am planning a flash mob for our grand opening. My manager told me I have to pick a song that we would not have any copyright infringements. Is this something I have to worry about?

    1 reply

    + LorettaM

    Yes, what you are planning is a "public performance" and the copyright holders will have to give permission and you will likely have to pay. That's what copyright laws are about--fair use.

    1 reply

    This is a non-profit organization so they pay $0 out of the $0 they profited.

    fireandshadows, Did you not read my post? I said it's a waste of time because instead of doing something productive, or helpful, flashmobs show up to do something frivolous. Why not organize these people to clean graffiti, clean a sidewalk, or something like that. Yes, it's "in the name of fun" but not everyone can have fun in this world. Shouldn't we try to make the world a better place for everyone, instead of for selfish, frivolous reasons?

    15 replies

    +vmcampos

    So now there's a shortage of fun in the world?

    But, if you tried to do the same thing, except cleaning graff, picking up rubbish etc... No one will turn up! because like you said its just for some fun, and cleaning graffiti isn't fun. P.S. I don't disagree with making the world a better place I do agree that it is something we should all try to do, but cleaning graffiti won't really help those who can't have fun.

    same idea like you,man.! ^^

    Every party has a pooper that's why we invited you, party pooper.

    sounds like you need to go out and have some fun...

    don't get me wrong im all for improvment of the world but ... all work and no play makes jack a dull boy +1

    Do you mean tags or graffiti?

    I think you missed the point of a "Mob", if it wasn't to have fun it would be called a Crew or Group. Mob, works as the name for fun.

    Too right! I don't see what everyone's so up tight about this for... its a bit of fun! I f u want to clean graffiti or make the world a better place u join a charity or somethin... flash mobs are just for a bit of fun arsein' around!

    I think what you are advocating would work in theory, but would fail in reality. This is due to the fact that this mob idea is just something fun that people can go out an do to just be spontaneous and random. Organizing a public work group would be much harder simply because you are "making" people do work, which people would rather not do.

    In reality success would depend on timing and knowing the people you invite, no matter the purpose of the event and the end goal . You can't make anyone to have fun or work, you can only ask.

    True. You are correct, but what I was trying to relate was the fact that the turnout for a service project would be significantly less then that of the world's largest pillow fight.