“A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, artistic expression or—in some cases—violence. Flash mobs are organized via telecommunicationssocial media, or viral emails.” – wikipedia

What ever happened to the good old fashion flash mob? You know, the ones we used to see pop up all the time way back in 2010?

Those were fun, creative, and often times… very moving.

From grand choruses being sung in department stores and malls to marriage proposals on the streets of New York City, I sure miss those days.

Of course, full disclosure… I have never taken part in one for fear of being that one guy in this commercial…

But I digress.

Recently, the flash mob has been getting some bad press that threatens to re position our frozen perceptions of that which intrigued us with them in the first place.

As riotous mobs overtaking malls appear more often now on our nightly newscasts with their sort of flash mob 2.0 version, we risk forever surrendering all that is good and pure about them.

With this, why must someone always find a way to take something that is good and begin to use it for something, well… not good? Why do the few always seem to have to spoil it for the rest of us?

Of course, that doesn’t need to be the case.

Usually when something goes to a 2.0 status, it is because the experience has been enhanced, improved, and therefore outliving the previous 1.0 label.

In this, we find ourselves in a fight to not let 2.0 be a lessening or cheapening of the flash mob idea but rather into ideas that further enhance the experience for both those involved as well as those aimed at for the audience.

We have already seen many different examples of how the flash mob has been used. But’s let not let others redefine it by their lack of respect for others as well as sense of entitlement. The idea of the flash mob essentially is to give… not take.

Commentary ->

Now, I do have my opinions on those that seek to flash mob their way into crime sprees and it might surprise you. Frankly, I think a lot of these kids have no understanding of consequences. Sadly, many of them wouldn’t even know what they look like. That’s why I am a big fan of The Mentoring Project.

Give, not take ->

But, what about the idea of the flash mob to give and not to take?

Give opportunity for community

Give opportunity for fun

Give opportunity to inspire others

Give opportunity to be yourself

Give opportunity to educate others

There are no rules here… just do it and keep doing it.

Life needs more spontaneous acts sprung upon us that make us feel alive and hopeful.

Flash Mob Mentality ->

Now, I realize many of you have also never had the desire to take part in a flash mob. That’s okay. I am not tracking who reads this article and planning on spamming you with “flash mob with me” emails. But, perhaps there is something about the flash mob mentality that does intrigue you a little bit.

Using social media, SMS, and email to mobilize people on a dime to do something…. just because.

What’s your “just because” going to be?

Idea ->

What if we applied this same flash mob mentality towards helping others? Instead of learning dance steps or song lyrics, what if you found out there was a specific need in your community and decided to flash mob that need with resources?

Now I think that would be a grand idea.

Here are some examples:

Scenario: Single mom works two jobs to support her kids in a small broken down rental house.

What if you found out what here needs were around the house, got some Twitter friends together, pick a date that works for the mom and flash mob her needs with the resources of the community?

Scenario: Local homeless shelter is preparing for a major event to help the homeless community prepare for the winter, but the problem is that they don’t have enough blankets, underwear, and socks.

What if you picked a day that works for the shelter and invited the community to flashed mob them with blankets, underwear, and socks?

One of the things I love about the flash mob mentality is that you don’t need to spend a year planning to get something done.

You simply:

  • define the need
  • verify the need
  • set a date and time
  • and use viral tools to call people to action.

Look around. There are so many needs people have.

Look around. There are so many resources we have.

So, what do you say that just because… we start doing this? Who knows, in doing this, we might start reaching some of the takers, and turn them into givers.

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One response »

  1. Bill Russell says:

    Outstanding line of thinking. As poverty increases and traditional professional approaches (salary driven) decline (inlcuidng public funding) – this fluid, mobile, direct, real time approach will be indespensible for authentic compassion to keep pace.

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