I want to be flashmobbed. I want to find myself in a railway station, or a bus depot, or an airport one day and have hundreds of people come out onto the concourse and entertain me. Even thinking about it, I can feel the unbridled joy that such a ‘spontaneous’ act of revelry would bring.
Of course, there’s nothing spontaneous about flashmobs. The originator of the idea, Bill Wasik of Wired magazine, knows only too well the hours and hours of practice and coordination that go into making them seem spontaneous.
Defined as ‘ a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, before quickly dispersing’ some of those I’ve seen on social media are inspiring. And watching the faces in the crowd, they seem to do untold good. I can imagine how the memory of it all will keep people going for days afterwards.
In an era where we are constantly bombarded with bad news – shootings, killings, murders, kidnappings, poverty, mindless acts of terror – three minutes of something wholesome can do wonders to revive a drooping spirit and provide a feelgood feeling you can tap into at any time in the weeks and months ahead.
The jury is out on what Wasik original intended. It depends on what you read. He said that his intention was to
…poke fun at hipsters and to highlight the cultural atmosphere of conformity and of wanting to be an insider or part of ‘the next big thing.’
Oddly thought, his flashmobs seem to have given conformity a way to be non-conforming. Elsewhere, he said:
The mobs started as a kind of playful social experiment meant to encourage spontaneity and big gatherings to temporarily take over commercial and public areas simply to show that they could.
Whatever. Even watching later, on Youtube and the like, I am guaranteed to come away smiling. There was one in Budapest in November 2013 that I missed 🙁 and don’t even remember hearing anyone talk about.
And another in Mamut in 2010…
So bring it on, Budapest, time for another. And while you sort yourselves out, I’ll be walking the city in expectation.