Flash Mobs and Dance Halls

Paul Resnick writes enthousiastically about Flash Mobs as a new form of social organization that may displace longer-term associations and friendships. Instant communication makes things faster, but the gathering of strangers has been part of urban civilizations since the days of dance halls and public hangings.
Flash mobbing makes it easier for people to flock. Those groups will complement longer-term associations, rather than displacing them. Here in Austin, webloggers and online journalers have become friends in physical space. The Texas Dean Meetups are being used as a base for strengthening the Democratic party precinct system.
This cartoon is pretty funny, but my guess is that new ways to meet people are competing with time spent home in front of the television, rather than with “real friends.”
In short, I think augmenting flocking is cool, but it’s not so new, and it adds rather than takes away from the repertoire of human social behavior.

One thought on “Flash Mobs and Dance Halls”

  1. It seems to me that flash mobs are really just a kind of icebreaker for online communities. It turns a bunch of email addresses into a face to face meeting. Meetup.com, you could say, is a kind of flash mob, which would make Howard Dean’s campaign one gigantic flash mob.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *