Things CHS really, really likes:
- People organizing
- People getting off rear-ends and doing stuff
- The Internet
We got a little too focused on our dislike for Big Media pandering and the commercial element (yes, Glee is a television show but it seems to have ascended) in today’s fun in Cal Anderson Park. To the true participants and people on the ground organizing, apologies for our silly game. To Scott and Danae, thanks for sending in this video of the rehearsals for the flash mob dancing about to break out all across Seattle.
Looks like good times. Flash mobs are important manifestations of the social Internet and networking. Many of them seem like nothing more than silly games to pass time and have fun. But they are a practice in their own right. The games hone skills of social networking and mobile communication. Some — like today’s in Seattle — also end up honing PR and marketing skills but the core still has value. People learning to organize “in real-time” is a powerful thing. Here’s an example of what happens when the game and its framework of flash mob networking is deployed in a higher-stakes environment. Here is another when the game became much more than practice. And another when the game got ugly.
After spending yesterday covering the sometimes violent outbursts of this ‘flash mob’ on the streets of Capitol Hill, I was looking for a way to say something about the co-opting of a fun but important cultural element for the promotion of a television program and the attention of TV trucks. The joke about canceling a “spontaneous” flash mob didn’t go off. It fell as flat as the light-bulb filled with red paint somebody in the crowd threw at a mounted SPD police officer during Friday’s protest. That bulb hit the cop in his helmet and bounced away. I don’t even think it achieved its intention — splattering paint everywhere — when it hit the pavement.