Thursday, November 26, 2009


What is a flash mob?
Remember them from five years ago?
This is just the flavour of madcap hilarity we need to energize #lightupnigeria. One person picks a date, a time, and a funny central place, emails/texts race across the town within hours, and a crowd of thousands (or maybe just fifty) materializes somewhere: in VI, at a park in Ikeja or Maitama, or in Houston or London. A lightupnigeria flash mob. Hey, why don't you do it, be the first, don't forget to text me oh (my number is on my fb page)
flash mob
(FLASH mawb) n. A large group of people who gather in a usually predetermined location, perform some brief action, and then quickly disperse. —v., —adj.
—flash mobber n.
—flash mobbing pp.

Example Citation:
The Internet has spawned a gaggle of new verbs — Googling, surfing and flaming are words most of us are used to hearing in everyday conversation. Now you can add "flash mobbing" to that list.

In recent weeks, New Yorkers have been using forwarded e-mails to coordinate "flash mobs," or not-so-random crowds that appear and dissipate within a matter of minutes. Is it performance art? The cutting edge of a new social movement? Or just an easy way to flummox carpet salesmen?

To protect the planned serendipity of each event, participants aren't told exactly what the mob is supposed to do until just before the event happens. For the most recent New York happening on July 2, participants passed around an e-mail telling them to assemble at the food court in Grand Central Station, where organizers (identifiable by the copies of the New York Review of Books they were holding) then gave mobbers printed instructions regarding what to do next.

The result: Shortly after 7 p.m., about 200 people suddenly assembled on the mezzanine level of the Grand Hyatt Hotel next to Grand Central Station, applauded loudly for 15 seconds, then left.
—Maureen Ryan, "All in a flash: Meet, mob and move on," Chicago Tribune, July 11, 2003

Earliest Citation:
As proof that some people have way too much time on their hands, consider the "flash mob" phenomenon.

Organizing a "flash mob" basically involves e-mailing a bunch of people with instructions to show up at a certain place for a few moments, then disappear.

According to, salespeople in New York were a bit confused when there was a huge, instant gathering around a particular rug. The flash mobbers agreed to tell the salespeople they all lived together in a warehouse in Queens and were thinking of buying a rug. The crowd dissipated after precisely 10 minutes. Poof.
—Kim Lamb Gregory, "Briefs," Ventura County Star, July 1, 2003

First Use:
Our senior Manhattan correspondent David Danzig reports that New Yorkers are using e-mail to coordinate "inexplicable mobs" — huge crowds that materialize in public places and suddenly dissipate 10 minutes later.
—Sean Savage, "Flash Mobs Take Manhattan,", June 16, 2003


MaxTheITpro said...

We need more flash mobs for vigilant political action that would actually get things done like yesterday.

Oh, hi T!! :-)
Your blog sure looks nice. When are you going to go WP (WordPres)?? It's improved by leaps and bounds over the past year and just won the Open CMS award as BEST CMS on the planet uprooting Joomla et al.


- Max (

t said...

Re: Flash mobs - as usual, I'm trying to get (lots of) other people to do the work. It would be fun!

How much fun are you having in Tanzania? Tanzania, right?

Recent Comments

Previously on UpNaira