It wasn't by spontaneous generation.
While preparing this column I was surprised to find the article My
Crowd by Bill Wasik, published in the March, 2006 issue of Harper's Magazine.
In this article Wasik reveals that he was the originator of the flash mob fad.
It was only a couple of columns ago that I (again)
noted that I prefer these columns to be behind the curve, that they relate to
issues that have cooled down a bit. That being the case, could I write about smart
crowds when a major article on the subject had just been published?
Wasik's article, I realized that he had waited for the fad of flash mobs to fade
before bringing his confession to print:
In fact the
flash mob, which dates back only to June 2003, had almost entirely died out by
that same winter, despite its having spread during those few months to all the
world's continents save Antarctica. Not only was the flash mob a vacuous fad;
it was, in its very form (pointless aggregation and then dispersal), intended
as a metaphor for the hollow hipster culture that spawned it. As
enjoyable as this article was to read (and it was very enjoyable) it left me scratching
my head. Was this guy telling the truth? Was he really the person who started
this fad? Numerous Google searches to try and find some cross-referencing that
would tell me that Wasik was pulling our collective leg have led me to believe
that he's not. It seems that he really invented the flash mob.
this because I happen to have been the flash mob's inventor. My association with
the fad has heretofore remained semi-anonymous, on a first-name-only basis to
all but friends and acquaintances. For more than two years, I concealed my identity
for scientific purposes, but now that my experiment is essentially complete, corporate
America having fulfilled (albeit a year later than expected) its final phase,
I finally feel compelled to offer a report: on the flash mob, its life and times,
and its consummation this summer in the clutches of the Ford Motor Company.
Go to: Mobs
just want to have fun, or
Go to: Is there
a point?, or
Go to: Are crowds really