What is it?
During a flashmob, a group of people assemble seemingly spontaneously in a public space such as a square, a shopping mall, or a park.
They then perform an action and just as quickly disperse.
A successful flashmob involves a large number of people and has a strong visual impact. The action itself can be a simple dance routine, people singing a song, or really any out-of-place action. They are disruptive and memorable, while being cheeky, fun and playful – not aggressive.
In recent years flash mobs have often gone viral through social media and have been replicated in other countries and contexts.
One example is the flash mob organised by Colectivo Las Tesis for the day on the elimination of violence against women in Santiago del Chile (un violador en tu camino). This action was then replicated in many cities in Europe.
How do you do it?
Organising a flash mob requires quite a lot of preparations and planning. You need to:
- Devise your concept/idea.
- Script a simple action that can be performed by anyone.
- Check where to perform it and whether it is legal to do so – this may involve obtaining necessary authorisations.
- Make sure you have a volunteer ready to film your action and put it on social media!
When planning your flashmob, make sure you choose a time and place where lots of people will see you, while being mindful that the location is safe for your participants.
Once you know how and where, it’s time to think about who. Assembling your team is probably the most difficult part of doing a flashmob. You will need performers who can all take part in the action – while keeping it a surprise from the public.
You can use internal digital networks to recruit volunteers and plan:
- A mailing list with a restricted number of recipients
- WhatsApp or Telegram groups
Organising a flashmob takes time and requires that you have a network of contacts already. But it has the advantage of making an impact at relatively low-cost.
Why and When should you use it?
Flashmobs do not necessarily need to carry a political or civic message. Lots of the time they’re simply a fun performance. But they can be a very effective tool to raise awareness of your specific issue.
If you manage to catch the attention of the public through your flashmob, make sure that people know who is behind it and what you stand for.
To do this, you’ll want your campaign name or #hashtag to be visible during your stunt. You can put them on badges or write them on your clothes.
You’ll also want people to be able to get in touch with you after the event so they can get involved in your campaign. You can do this by making sure your social media account is visible and, later on, by sharing your stunt on your social media channels.
Works best in combination with:
Flashmobs are a good strategy to capitalise on the media attention around your action and a plan for possible follow-up actions (e.g. once you have raised public attention you could try to get an interview or write an article on the issue you are campaigning about).