Pretty soon, flash mobs won’t be newsworthy any more, but until then, there’s this:

About 200 people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, crowd into the card section of the Harvard Coop bookstore, pretending to look for a card for “Bill.”

On cue, they burst into spontaneous applause….

A flash mob is a lighthearted variation of the “smart mob” – people who use digital technology to hastily mobilize, as activists did to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq or cell phone-equipped teenagers simply do to organize their evening on the spur of the moment.

Futurist Howard Rheingold unwittingly inspired the flash-mobbers, with his 2002 book “Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution,” which examines how technology redefines social interaction.

[via Bern Shen]