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Could Flash Mobs Make Events Interactive and Fun?

This past weekend, I was mesmorized by Oprah’s 21,000 person Flash Mob Video (read). It was an amazing display of collaboration and affection from Oprah’s biggest fans for her 24th Season Kick-off. After watching this video, I realized that I didn’t have a clue what a flash mob was or how to start one.

I thought flash mobs were groups of people mobilized to stand still in train stationsdance in a subway station or eat ice cream in protest. But, as you can see from the Oprah video – they can be experiential and interactive.

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Is this an Idea for Meetings and Events?

Yes – I think you can create interaction and collaboration among the attendees using Flash Mob concepts. You probably need to adapt the Flash Mob process a little bit — but I think it would work and be a lot of fun.  Here are some of the benefits that are worth considering:

1. Insta-Networking Activity: Many networking discussions start when the participants establish common ground. Flash mobs create a common bonding experience that gives all participants something to talk about with each other.

2. People Need to Create and Connect:  The article, “Guerilla Event Marketing – A Mob in A Flash” sums up the motivations for people to join a flash mob nicely. The article states: “the psychology behind why flash mobs and viral campaigns work speaks to an individual’s inherent need to create—and connect.” Create and Connect – isn’t this one reason the attendees came to your event?

3. Promotes Your Cause or Organization: Flash Mobs are public displays and allow you to share your organization’s message with others in the public space. (See Create Heroes Project Flash Mob video).

4. It’s Easy to Assemble the Mob: Meetings and Events already have a built-in-mob. So, you don’t have the challenge of finding people. You just need to figure out what they should do and organize them accordingly. What if they poured a Coke? or Danced to Beat it?

5. Word of Mouth Marketing for Next Year: The common bonding experience gives participants something to talk about with their “like minded friends” outside the event. This word of mouth publicity for your organization and event can be further amplified by a short video of the experience that is easily sharable with friends.

Bottom Line

I think flash mobs would make a good interactive experience for *some* events. It would not make sense for all event formats or organizations.  What do you think?

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is the Managing Director of Interactive Meeting Technology, LLC. He wakes up every morning to save the world from stuffing attendees in chairs for hours on end at events. Oh, and he has small children who usually want some breakfast.