Flashmobbing - The Successor to Streaking?

Flashmobbing is a craze which appeared as quickly as streaking did in the 70s. It involves a stunt, co-ordinated by mobile phone or email, in which large groups of people turn up in a specified place at a specified time, and do strange things. Sometimes it involves nudity, other times it doesn't. Apparently the fad started in New York.

Flashmobbing could be called a successor to streaking, in that it is quite similar in purpose, popularity and attitude. Streaking as a fad spread extremely rapidly across the universities of the US, and then around the world. It wasn't long before large numbers of students were organising mass streaks, or novelty streaks such as the parachuting streakers. The purpose was pretty much the same as flashmobbers - to have fun and to surprise, perplex or shock people. It embodied an attitude of freedom and foolishness, combined with a feeling of thumbing one's nose at society. Flashmobbing's cheerful weirdness seems to fit that profile quite well.

As the Sydmob site says "The act itself is one of total silliness, stupidity, or just plain weird! This is what attracts the majority of people to taking part in a flashmob, the fact that you have the chance to carry out something in front of total strangers which you wouldn't normally do. It's the chance to take a step out of our normally mundane lives and once again bring back that childlike playfulness that modern society has managed to nearly crush with all its boring rules and regulations."

Again, this seems very similar to some of the motivations behind streaking.

Here's a few of the incidents reported in the news.

Flashmobbing hits New Zealand
200 people piled into Burger King in Auckland and mooed like cows at lunchtime. Unfortunately the restaurant put on extra food to meet the sudden demand, but no-one stayed to eat anything, and all those burgers were thrown away.
Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Sept 2003 

Flashmobbing in Australia
Flinders Street Station in Melbourne was the scene for Australia's first flashmob. About 100 people, all wearing a yellow glove, pointed skywards.
- Melbourne Indymedia Site, 21 August 2003
SMH has a movie of the incident via this link

First Flashmob in the UK
250 people turned up at furniture store Sofas UK in Central London and began speaking English without the letter "o".
- The Guardian, 8 August 2003
Another article on this incident

Read More
Newstrove - Listing of Flashmobbing news stories
Great resource site, listing all flashmob incidents around the world.

Comment by Harold Rheingold about Flashmobbing
"Of course, it's meaningless. Is it meaningful for a hundred thousand people to pay to sit in a stadium and watch men in tight pants kick a ball around a field?"
-, 22 Sept 2003

Flashmobbing Sites - has details about heaps of UK flashmobs, news and links to other flashmobs around the world. A very useful resource if you're looking into this phenomenon.

The Mob Project - US site with lots of information.

London Mobs - lots of links and instructions

SYDMOB - the Sydney chapter. Has details of their latest mob events and plans for more

Smartmobs by Howard Rheingold is an intelligent blog site discussing how technology can co-ordinate groups of people. Has info on flashmobbing.

Flashmobbing Info - Dutch and English site

The Antimob Project is trying to get people to bog off from a place at a specific time... funny