Flashmobs depend greatly on finding a system which can organize total strangers - this can be achieved a few ways. The easiest of course (and most obvious) would be via the internet. Whether it be email
contacts, a yahoo group (such as flashmobau) or a mailing list. Other groups have also incorporated using text messaging on mobile phones and even some are even discussing the use of a GPS (for
example, the unit would beep the closer the mobber gets to the designated spot) For the moment we're using a combination of email and a mailing list.
Once a interested number of people have made a successful contact with the mailing group, it's then that some cloak and dagger work comes into play. For every Flashmob there is a person who has become the organizer. This person should never be looked upon as the head of the group or leader, he/she is simply the one who noticed a growing interest in having a flashmob take place and took it upon themselves to rally those people around to keep that interest high and begin the process of bringing everyone together. There may be one organizer, or there may be two, three, four. You will never truly know how many people are behind the scenes. Surely then their identity would be revealed at the flashmobbing, I hear you say ? Ah, not quite.
When going to a flashmob, the mobbers would have received some simple instructions by email sent out the night before or that morning to inform them where they need to be, and at what time. Also usually another instruction is given, to locate an individual who will pass onto them via a slip of paper the next set of instructions which would contain all the info they need to know for what is required of them at that particular flashmob. The instruction given for locating them could be something as simple as looking in a certain area for a person (male or female) wearing a white pair of pants and a green hat or perhaps even carrying a certain book. The first given instruction may not actually contain the information a mobber would expect; it could be yet another instruction to locate yet another person who has the information they actually need. Below is an example of an instruction given out at a recent Flashmobbing:
*** MOB #6 ***
Duration: 6 minutes (Gather at 7:18; disperse at 7:24)
The Site: Toys R Us (Broadway at 44th St)
By 7:15, situate yourself on the second floor of Toys R Us, away from the Jurassic Park section.
At 7:18, approach the giant animatronics dinosaur. Fill in all around it. It is like a terrible god to you. Stare at it, transfixed.
At 7:20, drop to your knees, still staring at the dinosaur. Whenever it roars, moan and cower behind outstretched hands.
At 7:24, disperse. No one should remain in Toys R Us after 7:27
Keep this slip hidden.
No photos or interviews between 7:15 and 7:20
(Mob instructions from the NY FlashMob Number Six-Toys R Us, Times Square. More info and photos of the event available here )
One thing you'll notice in all the instructions handed out to mobbers are the key times for when events will be taking place and when you need to be at a designated spot. Without this, the mob would truly be unorganized and the whole effect would be unfortunately lost. So if you are attending a SYDMOB, please be sure to read, re-read, then read again the instructions handed out to you. This way when you are in the thick of it all, you will get that great feeling of being not just a single human being committing an act of silliness, but part of a group of people who were up to a few moments ago, strangers on the street.