Applied Flashmobs

In the book “Distraction” by Bruce Sterling, characters discuss the event of a flash mob that appeared at a bank branch armed with tools that systematically destroyed the facility in minutes. This book was pretty much science-fiction when it was written, today, maybe perhaps there’s more truth to its environment:

It’s November 2044, an election year, and the state of the Union is a farce. The government is broke, the cities are privately owned, and the military is shaking down citizens in the streets. Washington has become a circus and no one knows that better than Oscar Valparaiso. A political spin doctor, Oscar has always made things look good. Now he wants to make a difference.

Is this happening already in America?     You bethca! Violent flash mobs have made their appearances in Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn this year with mobs of teenagers from poor neighborhoods busing themselves in and running loose upon the city downtown. 150 bored teenagers can do a lot of damage. Imagine what 1000 or even 10,000 people could do if they felt the need. This is why its important that the State not abuse its power with non-violent people. One Pulizer-scale photo like this:

Kent State massacre, 1970

can take your audience from their gentle and peaceful Kumbaya and tranced-drumming pace and radicalize a significant number to start a war with you.

Mobilizing Your Flashmob     Imagine you want to mobilize a whole lot of people from a public channel within a city. You have a goal, and you want it to happen at a time and place. So you start tweeting locations like:

  1. Washington Circle Park.
  2. Stanton Park.
  3. East Potomac Park.
  4. Brentwood Park.
  5. … and so on.
You number each location and you give this information out on your public channel about a week in advance.  You pre-announce which day the event will be launched. Sometime during that day, the “go” code letting you know which location will be the active one. Once the code goes, the location goes hot and everyone converges there within minutes.
Obviously, you can look at this like nuclear drills. Maybe you’re launching, maybe you’re not. And don’t think that you need social media to pull these kinds of stunts off, the trigger could be as simple as a number spray painted on the side of a widely visible building.
“One if by sea, two if by…”