From the horse's mouth.

Howard Rheingold, who tends to keep ahead of the crowd, and identifies trends well before they become mainstream, published Smart Mobs in 2002. The mobs in the title wasn't (only) referring to one of the less desirable aspects of crowd behavior, but instead to the almost instantaneous gatherings (and dispersions) of people made possible by mobile phones. The book (freely available online) is filled with examples, though some seem less convincing than others. Rheingold always seeks the big picture:
Smart mobs emerge when communication and computing technologies amplify human talents for cooperation. The impacts of smart mob technology already appear to be both beneficial and destructive, used by some of its earliest adopters to support democracy and by others to coordinate terrorist attacks. The technologies that are beginning to make smart mobs possible are mobile communication devices and pervasive computing - inexpensive microprocessors embedded in everyday objects and environments. Already, governments have fallen, youth subcultures have blossomed from Asia to Scandinavia, new industries have been born and older industries have launched furious counterattacks.
Are these mobs really generating social change in the manner that Rheingold suggests? It's nice to think that they do, in a "history from below meets 21st century technology" manner. Too many of Rheingold's examples, however, seem steeped in a "we are the people" ethos, pitting the little-guy underdog against the big corporation bad guy. At least a couple of bloggers ask if there isn't another side to that coin.

As it to perhaps be expected, Rheingold tells us that there's a battle raging for control over the technologies that make smart mobs possible (and that the little guy may be losing).

Go to: Are crowds really that smart?