LAST SEPTEMBER 20TH, many young people were seen standing around Myungdong Station, operating their cell phones. People passing by found this to be a very strange sight. Suddenly, one of them raised their hands and said, "Look! There's a U.F.O! Aliens!" A few minutes later, all of their cell phone alarms went off, and the people instantly fell down onto the ground. Three minutes later, they quickly stood up and disappeared into the crowd, clapping their hands. Do you know what this was or why it happened? It is what people are now calling a ?lashmob,?and it was the second one to occur in Korea.
A "Flashmob" is a new social trend, where a group of people who don't know each other, gather to perform a specific activity, and then disperse without ever meeting together to discuss the event prior to or following the action. The participants receive information by e-mail or by cell phone, and are given instructions on how to take part in a given activity, in a specific place on a certain day, and at an exact time.
"Flashmob" is a compound word made by joining the expression "Flash Crowd" and "Smart Mob" together. A Flash Crowd is a phenomenon that occurs when an increasing number of computer users visit a website, specifically to answer the questions posted on it. A Smart Mob is when a crowd of people meet to partake in a technological, sociological or political demonstration after being contacted by an anonymous person by e-mail or cell phone to be given the instructions. The term ?lashmob?was created by an internet media source called "Ceesebikini" (www.cheesebikini.com)
The first Flashmob took place in New York City, and was initiated by a man named "Bill." However, his plan failed due to the heavy police control in New York. His second Flashmob was a great success, and has led Flashmobs to become a popular trend all over the world.
Are there any reasons to become involved in a Flashmob? Lee Jung-Rae said, "There's no specific reason, they?e just for fun! I think that is the reason!" In Korea, there are many clubs that are involved in organizing Flashmobs. Last March 21st, Korea had its 15th Flashmob. It took place all across the country, and was the biggest one on the national scale.
A Flashmob has some special features. First, a Flashmob is not used for business profit, political purposes or to harm other citizens. Participants do not organize a specific meeting after the Flashmob because one of the Flashmob principles are, "participant don't know each other." And finally, anyone can participate, as there are no interviews prior to the event.
Recently some anxiety has risen over Flashmobs because citizens may become inconvenienced as a result of an event taking place. But although this negative opinion is starting to stir up debates concerning the legalities of Flashmobs, they are continuing to gain public favor, and many people are becoming interested in this social trend. Let's think of Flashmobs as a current new cultural phenomenon, and enjoy them rather than criticize them.
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