I think it’s about two years ago, that I first heared about flash mobs. In case you haven’t heared of it, Wikipedia describes it as “a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire.”
Flash mobs can be very fun to watch. They could consist of a few people or even hundrets of people. The fun of it is, that it starts as quickly as it’s over. It comes out of nowhere and feels like nothing ever happened once it’s finished.
This sudden and unexpected happening can create a lot of attention and always gets a lot of onlookers. Once the flash mob happening is caught on tape, it can even get thousands of clicks on platforms like youtube. So why not use these flash mobs to shout out a message to the world at the same time?
There are allready a lot of people that turned this thought into great “demonstration” flash mobs. One example is a flash mob that happened in Hong Kong in Octobre 2010. About 150 activists froze in the same pose for 3 minutes at Hong Kongs Time’s Square while holding up signs against the consumption of shark fin soup and shark finning, which is one of the main reasons for the dangerously declining number of sharks worldwide. Thanks to the creative, and even fun to watch, protest flash mob, the activists where able to bring this topic to a world wide attention. Click here to watch the flash mob on CNNgo.
But there is also another way of flash mobbing for the good cause. When I first learned about “Carrotmob”, I was totally fascinated by their great concept. Carrotmob is a non-profit organization, based in San Francisco, that uses flash mobs as consumer activism. The crowd of the flash mob activists decide on a particular store, meet at the same time and grant this store one of its most profitable days ever. So instead of dancing or singing, the people of a carrotmob consume. It doesn’t make sense so far, does it? But stay with me. The twist that makes this flash mob a good cause is this: before the flash mob happens, the store commited itself to make socially and environmentally responsible changes to their business. So the flash mob of consuming is basically a reward for the store, for making these changes. What a great idea! Instead of boycott, carrotmob!
Check out a video of a carrotmob here.
It seems like Carrotmob took of extremly well, since groups are teaming up all over the world. Even my hometown has a carrotmob group. How about your town? If it doesn’t have one yet, you can start your own group. You’ll find help and details for it on their webpage.
So what do you think about these modern ways of demonstrating? I, myself, can’t wait to see more ideas like these. Demonstrations don’t always have to be agressive and loud or end up in a boycott. Sometimes it is enough to get people’s attention by doing the opposite. Who would have thought that consuming or simply standing still for 3 minutes could have the same effect?
Probably there is no recipe for the perfect way of demonstrating, but the ingredient every movement needs is people, lots of people. It is one thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years. It doesn’t matter what people believe in, but if enough people believe in it, there will be change.