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 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.*
- The Anonymous Anti-Scientology protests on the 10th of Feb could be considered a form of flashmobbing. Flashmobbing with a point.
- Combined with another internet phenomenon as hundreds of flashmobbers descended on a London railway station to sing Rick Astley's greatest hit.
- Mobile Clubbing: A bunch of people meet at some street corner with the Walkmans and MP3 players, and start dancing each to their own music.
- Rob Manuel explains how he started a huge moonwalking flashmob... by accident.
- An example of a recent 'mobbing that was not so passé: zombies mob Vancouver!
- Flash Mob plus Awesome Music equals Food Court Hallelujah Chorus.
- The entire point of Improv Everywhere is to set these types of events up.
- One example involving drag and the Sydney Opera House.
- One variation of a flashmob involves everyone showing up and instead of bursting into song and dance... they don't do anything. Of course, after remaining frozen for a few minutes, everyone Un Pauses.
- Verdi in an Amsterdam department store
- A Spanish bank celebrated its 130th anniversary with Beethoven
- The Polish cast of Les Misérables flash-mobbed a mall in Warsaw to promote the show, which was opening at a theater close by. It was pretty damn cool.
- Perhaps inspired by the Polish production, a production in Miami performed their own flash-mob.
- In "College of DuPage Flash Mob Dance and Pep Rally", one of Cracked's 5 Videos That Will Brighten Your Day, a half dozen people perform rehearsed dance moves, and then someone outside the group spontaneously joins in the dance fever. "Oh, life is a musical now? OK, I'd better adapt!"
- A flash mob in Verona, Italy paid tribute to The Blues Brothers.
- The Broadway cast of The Lion King flashmobbed a New York subway car with "The Circle Of Life.
- The US Air Force Band used flash mobs at the Smithsonean Air and Space Museum to promote their free Christmas concerts in 2013 and 2014.
- Lindsey Stirling shot her video for "Master of Tides" as a flash mob.
- The "freeze mob" varient was used to promote the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic
- When U2 appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in May of 2017, at one point during the interview, they pushed Jimmy's desk and couch aside, brought out a drum kit and amps and sang "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". Several of the audience members turned out to be a gospel choir who joined in after the second verse.
- Dick Van Dyke's wife arranged a flash Mary Poppins medley performance for his 90th birthday.
- AT&T shows us what happens if flash mobsters can't keep in touch.
- In Love Actually, Mark flash-mobs Peter and Juliet's wedding by having a small choir and orchestra emerge from the pews after the ceremony to serenade the happy couple with "All You Need is Love".
- 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.
- 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.
- Qi: The audience for the Season 'O' Christmas episode turned out to be a choir, and ended the show with a chorus of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".
- The Other Two has Carey get an acting job as part of a flash mob that exists to entertain tourists.
- Parodied in Questionable Content wherein one of the characters talks about flashmobs appearing in costume to do scenes from The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and so on, and then dispersing, and how you occasionally get Gandalf v. Sephiroth fights when people don't coordinate properly.
- In King of the Hill, after Hank calls Donna an idiot on his MySpace account, she has all her MySpace friends gather outside Strickland Propane to attack him. She even proudly referred to it as a Flashmob. It spectacularly backfires when the mob mistakes Buck (her boss) for Hank, resulting in the mob assaulting Buck and Donna getting fired.