Fascinating. It appears that smart mobbing is starting to become a form of entertainment. (They’re called "flash mobs" in New York.) A couple days ago a flash mob swarmed a Macy’s (some great pictures of the event are here and here; here’s Wired’s article on it).
As one participant so charmingly put it, "Everyone loves a mindless mob!"
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, a smart mob of Agent Smiths swarmed Tokyo and Osaka.
(The connection between smart mobs and Matrix Reloaded is one of those things that, in retrospsect, you realize had to happen sooner or later.)
While this is definitely one of those things that would be hard to do when you have kids, it does look like it would be a lot of fun. Maybe it’s something I can organize at the next academic conference I’m at. It doubtless would flip out some people.
Update: San Fracisco pioneered a Mad Santa Crawl, featuring "a crowd of santas [that] descends upon one of san francisco’s most-touristed neighborhoods to get drunk, to hand out disturbing gifts, and to frighten tourists. " This Santarchy is spreading….
Later: Was I drunk when I wrote that update? A screwed-up bold tag, a misspelling… standards are falling.
Yet another Update: Howard Rheingold says that "inexplicable mobs are popping up all over the place," including New York, Detroit, and elsewhere. Also, in the Department of Smart Mobs and National Stereotypes, Australian teenagers are using SMS for high-powered party hopping. One young lady invited
70 friends to her 18th birthday party, held at her parents’ home in the eastern suburbs. About 300 youths turned up uninvited. There were fights, but her father managed to kick out most of the intruders.
My kind of dad!