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.

In short, it's a Real Life version of a Crowd Song or a bit of Spontaneous Choreography.

Flashmobbing just for the sake of flashmobbing has become somewhat passÚ. 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 idea has also been used as proof that backward time travel is impossible: if it was, there should be flashmobs at every major historical event.


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).
  • In Selfie, Henry is trying to be supportive to co-worker Larry, whose wife left him, so he agrees to participate in an office flash mob. However, Henry finds out Larry does these all the time for his wife-and she hates them. At the end of the episode, Larry tries a smaller and better received gesture-only for one last co-worker to burst in and start dancing in a spangly onesie.
  • 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
  • In King of the Hill, after Donna was fired from Strickland Propane for screwing up their MySpace page, she had all her MySpace friends attack Enrique. Despite this not being an intentionally silly event, she proudly referred to it as a Flashmob.