Are Smart Mobs A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

from the fad-or-trend? dept

It’s been almost a year since Howard Rheingold unleashed the concept of Smart Mobs on the world, and he’s been doing an excellent job promoting it ever since then. His idea was that with the growing ubiquitous nature of internet (or other) connections, such as via your mobile phone, it will become increasingly easy to have unexpected “smart mobs” suddenly show up for certain events. Basically, people can be expected to immediately communicate with others where something special is happening, and suddenly, everyone just starts arriving. So, now that the press is picking up on the various email-based “flash mobs” that have sprung up in the past month, I’m wondering how much of this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. How many of these mobs were created because someone read about Rheingold’s concept of Smart Mobs, and decided to make it a reality, rather than having it happen naturally. I also wonder (as do some people in the article) if many of these flash mobs are “sustainable”. It mostly sounds like a briefly amusing fad that will quickly die out – and may end up diluting the real power behind the idea of the “smart mob”. People may start to assume that smart mobs are really just a bunch of kids with too much time on their hands, randomly showing up places, rather than a true culture-changing phenomenon (which they have the potential to be).

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Comments on “Are Smart Mobs A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Realms of Lysogeny

Some viruses learn to incorporate themselves into host cells and express themselves only occasionally, in a process known as lysogeny. But then, even viruses have their own parasites, known as satellite viruses, that will replicate only when a cell has already been infected by the “host” virus.

Perhaps smart mobs will see their counterpart of satellite viruses, in which trouble-seeking bystanders pretend to sympathize with their cause. We could have Professional Troublemakers that spread confusion among smart mobs.

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