19 June 2009

80s Music as a Portent of the Future

I have seen the future. It looks like this:

Why do I think that this is the future? Well, there are flash mobs that get coordinated online. No one knows about them until a group descends, does its thing, and then disappears. As you can see by the faces, this kind of thing is at turns amusing and a little worrisome. The crowd doesn't quite know what to do in response. Part of that is simply the normal unease that comes from a novel situation without defined rules. But I think that part of it comes from a realization that revolution without a cause cannot be squelched and yet that kind of organizing power could be used for more insidious purposes.

It is almost as if they are saying, Just remember: we can organize and we can act.

And, as my buddy Beth writes, "We can bring spontaneous joy. In all shapes, sizes, and ages."

This is the future because it shows that we don't need an "organization" to organize. We can organize with information, with communication. This promise of the Web has yet to be fully realized. It will be. And it'll be fascinating.

[Thanks Beth for pointing me to this. And yes, I realize that this "flash mob" was actually organized by a real organization promoting a new MC Hammer reality show. But I still submit that this kind of thing doesn't require an organization. The promoters for MC Hammer's show got the idea from organic organizers. They just added the gold parachute pants.]


Mrs4444 said...

I've seen one of these that took place in Grand Central Station (maybe?) I would love to be there when such a thing happens. You've (Beth, too :) done a great job articulating what makes it so compelling. Think of the power...

Mrs4444 said...

What? No "Followers" button?