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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.

Examples of Flashmob include:

Fictional examples:



  • 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.

Live Action TV

  • 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.

Web Comics

Western Animation