Wednesday, August 20, 2003

flash in the pan

Today at 6:23 I walked out of Left O'Douls with a pile of other people, and then walked over an piked into the Westin Saint Francis.

This was my first flash mob. The first thing I noticed was that Mob's don't read too well. It clearly said, at 6:30, to start treating everyone around you like long lost pals, but people started it up as soon as they got in, meaning that everyone lost a little steam for a minute or two. But for a minute or two the lobby was a pandemonium of "Hey! how are you?! you look great!" with hugs and backslapping all around.

The next stage was to fall to the floor of the lobby and pretend you were dead asleep for several minutes. It was crowded on the floor, people packed in like rats really, someone was on my foot and I was squished between a couple of other people as well. There was a crowd of somewhat stunned, bewildered hotel guests. Security, according to a friend, were in the process of freaking out.

Several minutes up though, everyone stood up, yawned, stretched, and walked out.

It was fun, but a little wierd and against my better instincts of hanging out with a mob of people.

I have to wonder, is there a limit to these, what happens when they get to big and a particular event becomes unmanageable. It will be interesting to see. It would also be interesting to see if they can be hacked, passing out alternate routes as they do for critical mass -- the prototype flash mob if there ever was one. Of course, they could be hacked for ill as well.

A fascinating little cultural phenomenom.


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