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A Real Life Big Lipped Alligator Moment, Flashmobbing consists of coordinating a large number of people to show up in a given place at a given time, usually to do something silly and then disperse. Coordination is done primarily with some form of mobile messaging and relies on a Friending Network to amass crowd size.
Flashmobbing just for the sake of flashmobbing has become somewhat passé. It still finds some interesting applications in a real world-new media interaction games.
The phenomenon was anticipated in Larry Niven's 1972 short story, "Flash Crowd", in which the spontaneous formation of huge mobs at the site of interesting events was the inevitable consequence of cheap, readily-accessible teleportation. Really, all it took was cheap, readily-accessible communications. The fact that there weren't massive hordes of spectators from the future at every major historical event has been used as an argument for the impossibility of backward time travel.
- The Anonymous Anti-Scientology protests on the 10th of Feb could be considered a form of flashmobbing. Flashmobbing with a point.
- Combined with another internet phenomenon as hundreds of flashmobbers descended on a London railway station to sing Rick Astley's greatest hit.
- Mobile Clubbing: A bunch of people meet at some street corner with the walkmans and mp3 players, and start dancing each to their own music.
- Rob Manuel explains how he started a huge moonwalking flashmob... by accident.
- An example of a recent 'mobbing that was not so passé: zombies mob Vancouver!
- Flashmob plus Crowning Music of Awesome equals Food Court Hallelujah Chorus.
- The entire point of Improv Everywhere is to set these types of events up.
- One example involving drag and the Sydney Opera House.
- One variation of a flashmob involves everyone showing up and instead of bursting into song and dance... they don't do anything. Of course, after remaining frozen for a few minutes, everyone Un Pauses.
- AT&T shows us what happens if flash mobsters can't keep in touch.
- Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow, provides an example of this; the Xnet was used to set up an event based on a vampire LARP in order to provide cover for Marcus and Ange to meet up with a DHS mole.
- In one episode of CSI: Miami, the flashmob is intended to help find a body (since the guy who arranged it didn't want to report it himself and implicate a friend).
- Flashmob - The Opera was the title of a BBC Three musical event that took place in Paddington Station, with the audience/chorus being assembled as a flashmob.
- The Safety Dance in the mall in Glee. it was All Just a Dream. They do it again in "Born This Way."
- A season 2 episode of Modern Family involves Mitch participating in a flash mob.
- The Numb3rs episode Animal Rites has a Subverted example: The flashmob was organized ahead of time by the villain to distract the authorities at a key moment.
- Parodied in Questionable Content wherein one of the characters talks about flashmobs appearing in costume to do scenes from Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and so on, and then dispersing, and how you occasionally get Gandalf v. Sephiroth fights when people don't coordinate properly.
- In King of the Hill, after Donna was fired from Strickland Propane for screwing up their My Space page, she had all her My Space friends attack Enrique. Despite this not being an intentionally silly event, she proudly referred to it as a Flashmob.