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Flash Mobs Are Memes?

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Michael has been teaching social science economics and ICT since the 1980's.

Dancing is a Form of Meme

So what is a meme? It is something that is easily copied and passed on. Dancing is a meme and has been used down the centuries to pass on stories and knowledge.

Today most people associate memes with web photos with funny quotes or captions.

The public want to be entertained and distracted as never before. Memes seem to be popping up just about everywhere.

Just in case you have not seen one before. Here are a few flash mobs for you enjoy.

It is incredible how fast entertainment trends come and go. What is hot today, may be a dead duck tomorrow.

Flash mobs as an entertainment have been around for a lot longer than you may think.

Anywhere we care to look in history we have always enjoyed dancing and particularly dancing girls. It may seem a bit old fashioned but it is what it is?

Some people like to dance, and some people like to watch others dancing and still more like to copy dancers. The top rated TV shows of today, are testament to this simple fact.

They are perfect examples of Memes.

A meme is simply 'something that is copied'. Successful memes get copied a lot. Want to get noticed on the web? Create a memorable Meme.

All forms of dancing are essentially memes. Look how new dance crazes just take off seemingly from nowhere.

African Tribal Dance is one of the most popular forms of dancing viewed on the web.

Many of these African Tribal Dances are ways of sharing origin stories and also a way to pass on important information about local traditions, food and water resources. Perfect examples of memes.

African Tribal Dance

French Can Can

They are often used as a marketing method and some consider them an art form.

In general it's main purpose is to entertain but with the added emphasis on product promotion and raising brand awareness.

Dancing has always been used in education and in advertising and promotions in much the same way.

The French Can Can was scandalous when it first appeared, but eventually became associated with the high life in Paris, and in particular the Folies Bergere club frequented by the Parisian elite and artist's. Initially the can can was performed by men. I'd pay to see that.

And just like today it pulled in more people, who simply wanted to be around the celebrities of the day.

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French Can Can Scandalous

Dancing Memes in Action

The Pauline Reader Dancers recreate a dance from the old days. filmed at the 50 th Anniversary of the Haddenham Steam Rally.

The Pauline Reader Dancers recreate a dance from the old days. filmed at the 50 th Anniversary of the Haddenham Steam Rally.

Eurovision Song Contest

Meme marketing

Initially flash mobs were seen as just another interesting entertainment. After a while it becomes a bit, O dear not another one.

The difference is that when we consider where the content is heading. It has been specifically designed to be shared with friends via the internet and social networks. The essence of social marketing.

It has to be good fun, entertaining and not overtly ramming a product down your friends throats. That is an instant fail.

As marketing methods go they definitely get a lot of attention. With the internet it can go viral and global very quickly. They are usually organized by some social media marketing company, with a distinct objective in mind.

By the time they arrived on Oprah, you know it's mature as a medium, in terms of its novelty value. The Black Eyed Peas performance was brilliant and took Oprah completely by surprise.

Check out the video. Another performance during the interval of the Eurovision Song Contest was also very interesting.

Allegedly the world's biggest flash mob ever was put together. It was truly massive. Apparently making a new World record... In entertainment history.

Black Eyed Peas Video

People just love dancing

Web content

One of the interesting aspects of this phenomenon, is in it's rate of turnover.

The internet has created the need for more good quality content. Whatever that is, and who decides quality is another issue.

We can assume it may mean. Things that people would like to know about, read about and see.

When Tim Berners Lee, created the world wide web. He could not have imagined where it would go,

The current situation is a case of unintended outcomes of technological change. Anything that adds to the store of human advancement, enrichment and entertainment has got to be okay.

They can be great entertainment so enjoy it while it lasts. It shows the power of the web. We can send a positive message around the world almost instantly.

It may be just be another clever social media marketing method, but at least it is good clean fun and is not hurting anyone.

If we want the internet to be a place, filled with interesting and useful information, and videos about things that are helpful, uplift people, then flash mobs are as good a place to start as any.

Memes trend fast

The world wide web has given us unrivaled access to the world of Art, Science, Music, Literature, History to name but a few areas of interest.

We like to be entertained, as well as educated and informed. It is true to say, that we have never before, in the history of human life on Earth, had so much access to so much interesting, useful and beautiful information.

Memes make things go viral. Think of the web and all those pictures of cats. Memes.

The knowledge of nations and individuals, is generously shared and that alone is incredible. Why do some people spend such a huge percentage of their time online, on who knows what, It's a question of personal choice.

There is plenty of good information on the internet. The more that 'we' can add to it the better. If you want to know what is going to be the next best thing in technology.

It may be worth while watching children as they seem to know what the next big thing will be before we do.

The Eurovision Song Contest, which is watched by millions of Europeans every year was a watershed moment. The show is celebrated for it's extremely poor taste.

In Europe the contest is considered dull and uninspired, and sometimes downright awful, but still loved and watched by millions right across Europe.

The fact that the worlds biggest ever Flash mob appeared on this show speaks volumes. It is doomed to succeed, for years, so enjoy it.

Europe land of the weird and wonderful



Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on February 21, 2015:

Hi TCoote, flash-mobs are great fun and get peoples attention. Everyone loves dancing.

NekoLoko from Florida on January 11, 2015:

I love flash mobs! I always thought that they were very creative and fun. Ive seen some where they was a suprise proposal from couples.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on July 18, 2012:

Have you noticed an increase in planking and bat-manning in the TV ads lately. I am seeing them everywhere. Cleaned up and ready for the www. lol

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on April 09, 2012:

Hi Nell,

We are social butterflies lol.

Redgage is a little plank of a site isn't it? : )

I don't get the planking thing at all.

What do you make of John Show? Just weird.

Nell Rose from England on April 07, 2012:

Planking? haha! I love the flash mobs, I think they are really fun, but the other stuff, Um! haha! got this through redgage, we do get about don't we? lol!

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on March 31, 2012:

Hi Debby Bruck,

Thought you might like to see the new trending videos.

These are on the phenomenon planking and batmanning. Totally bonkers.

The curious thing on the planking video is that the subject is an establishment icon.

We would not expect him to do something like this.

Just shows the power of copycat behavior? Enjoy lol

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on March 07, 2012:

Thanks JS for the share.

The longer I am on this planet, the more amazed I am by what humans get up to.

Their creativity is astounding.

I often wonder 'how do they think these things up'.

The internet (people) is/are truly incredible.

The speed of sharing ideas is mind-boggling.

Who knows where it will take us next?

We are truly living in interesting times.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on March 07, 2012:

Hi Justin,

lol trust you to spot it.

There's nothing like a bit of deep market penetration!

Ask any marketeer?

The planking thing is really quite odd.

There is an ad running here at the moment of a very respected and long serving News anchor.

It just looks wrong somehow?

I will try to get a video of it and post here.

Don't even get me going on Batmanning? WTH?

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on March 07, 2012:

I love your sense of humor on this one molometer! I love flash mobs and planking and all the other silly antics that people think of! People never cease to amaze me with their creativity! Nice job glad I saw it on the Feed! Voting up and SHARING!


Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on March 07, 2012:

i do enjoy a good flashmob, although the freeze mobs are my fave... but I don't get planking. also, was this an intentiional pun" Now that is what you call deep market penetration." ???

up and shared

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on January 26, 2012:

Hello Debby Bruck,

You said it. Humans are renowned for their ability to imitate. Humans start trends. And marketers follow them.

It's the oldest one in the book.

Debby Bruck on January 25, 2012:

Hi Michael ~ I guess I will have to do more research on this meme planking. Doing it just because others do it. What a copy-cat world?! Debby

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on January 25, 2012:

Hi Debbie,

The easiest way to describe planking is that it is a meme. A trend copied by others for no apparent meaningful reason.

Other than it is copyable!

The people doing the copying however, may not be aware of this aspect of planking?

Hope that clarifies it:)

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on January 25, 2012:

Hello PWalker281,

mooboomoo? that's a new one on me.

I'll check it out.

We have a very distinguished TV news reporter planking. And somehow it is very disconcerting to see this chap doing this? Very odd!

Debby Bruck on January 24, 2012:

Michael - I love Flash Mobs and voted up on that and this hub. I have never heard of planking until now. Fascinating. How did it come about? Is it a statement of sorts? An exercise? All the best, Debby

PWalker281 on January 24, 2012:

No problem, MM. Yes, that Black Eyed Peas one is amazing!

And yeah, I just don't get planking, but mooboomoo, from your neck of the woods, did a hub on planking that includes a really cool video of a theater company planking.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on January 24, 2012:

Hi there PWalker281,

Just spotted someone planking on a TV advert. Not as much fun as flash-mobs though lol

It is amazing how they all stay in synch? Black eyed peas is the best video.

Sorry about the delay in replying. I must have missed it somehow.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on December 11, 2011:

Hello Lord,

The black eyed peas flash mob was brilliant, Oprah wasn't expecting that at all.

I think really the flash mob shelf life has a long way to go and it will be around until the next big thing. Have you seen planking? it's bizarre.?

The circus gang sure does know her thing lol

Joseph De Cross from New York on December 10, 2011:

Seen the Black Eyed Peas 'I've got a feeling' with Oprah and the experience is beyond explanation. Great article. Love the Beyonce dancers, 'I'm a single lady!'

Thanks for the share my friend.


P.S. The read head to the left on the picadilly 'Circus gang' knows her thing!

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on December 03, 2011:

I must admit, I do love them too. Beyonce is a goddess let's face it.

I think the best one is with the Black eyed Peas on Oprah. Now that was magical. Couldn't use it here for copyright reasons but it is the best I have seen. It just looks so natural.

PWalker281 on December 03, 2011:

Okay, I have to say I am a sucker for a flash mob, and the bigger, the better as long as everyone's in sync, like a murmuration of swallows (seen that video?). I really liked those Beyonce dancers and the Eurovision flash mob. Planking on the other hand leaves me scratching my head. WTF? indeed! Another great hub rated up and interesting.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on November 09, 2011:

Hi phdast7,

I'm sure you are right and it will be an art-form that will be around for quite some time. It is novel idea I guess.

Thanks for the comment.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on November 01, 2011:

Hi NatalieMK so glad you liked the videos.

They are amazing I agree, just got to get my head around "planking" and "batmanning".

These trends are strong, fast and longer lived than I thought.

Thanks for dropping in and leaving such an interesting comment.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 30, 2011:

Thanks htodd your visit is much appreciated.

htodd from United States on October 30, 2011:

Great post..Thanks

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 29, 2011:

I do hope so, they are such great fun to watch.

That's my point I have just discovered them and they appear to be waning already.

I agree people do like collective singing and dancing.

Before TV etc this was the way we entertained each other for centuries and no doubt will continue too.

Glad you liked it. It is joyous isn't it.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on October 29, 2011:

I somehow think Flash Mobs will be around for awhile. There is a yearning in a lot of people for "collective" singing and dancing...its a soul/spirit sort of thing.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 28, 2011:

Hi Nataliemk, can you believe it, just when I thought I had got my head around Planking it's out of date already.

So Batmanning is the new planking or are they mutually exclusive.

I suppose it's possible to enjoy both, you know. A bit of planking in the week and a bit of batmanning for the weekends and the odd flashmob on bank holidays? lol

Thanks for the comment see you soon.

Nataliemk on October 28, 2011:

The latest craze is actually "batmaning" hanging upside down by your feet.

umquada kickbooty on October 27, 2011:

What a funny site. I must come again to see this funny story.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 27, 2011:

Hello Linda, glad you enjoyed this hub.

It is very popular maybe Flash mobs are not finished just yet hey?

Thanks for coming over and leaving a comment.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 27, 2011:

Hello Linda, glad you enjoyed this hub.

It is very popular maybe Flash mobs are not finished just yet hey?

Thanks for coming over and leaving a comment.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 27, 2011:

Thanks Alastar that means a lot to me.

Coming from one of my favorite writers here in the hubiverse. That is high praise indeed.

Cheers buddy

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on October 27, 2011:

You made an A-class number one Hub ole boy. Wicked good!

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 27, 2011:

Hi Always, isn't it the truth.

I thought wow this is interesting, then we find out it's old already. That's the internet age.

Happy planking can't wait to see some more hubbers trying that one out lol.

Thanks for the visit.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on October 27, 2011:

Interesting topic. By the time i learn about a new something, it's gone and replaced by , you guessed it, something new....Cheers

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 27, 2011:

Thanks for all the great comments everyone. This hub has had the most hits I have ever had? What did I do? lol

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 27, 2011:

hello jenubouka lol please don't you might scare the wildlife.

They said Hip Hop I, heard Hip Op! lol

Trends hey what can you do?

Glad you popped in. Thanks

jenubouka on October 27, 2011:

By the time I feel hip on the new craze's they have long past, so then I am that guy who thinks the flash mob is a new way to streak with your fellow neighbors.

Linda on October 27, 2011:

Enjoyed your hub, very funny video's.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 27, 2011:

Hello fpherj48,

So glad you liked the hub. I had fun making it. It's such a funny topic.

Thank you for the wonderful compliment and thank you for coming over.

Watch out for Planking, It is bizarre and getting very popular.

Micheal (author) from United Kingdom on October 27, 2011:

Hello Alastar,

My pleasure to shine my "flash light" into you man-cave regarding flash mobs, before they are consigned to the waste basket of the internet lol

They are funny and amazing but overuse leads to the attitude of:- huh! not another flash mob.

I am just about to go into hibernation myself now that winter is creepy across the lawn.

"To the man-cave"

Must practice my Planking for the spring, if it's still around by then?

Thanks for coming over Alastar much appreciated.

Suzie from Carson City on October 27, 2011:

WONDERFUL!!! Loved the Dance Video!! Quite simply...YOU DO GREAT WORK!!

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on October 27, 2011:

Awesome Hub molometer. Now, WTF! I must come out of the man-cave and get up-to-date on the bigger world once in a while. I've never heard of Flash Mobs or Planking but thanks to you am enlightened now. Couldn't take my eyes off the amazon dancer closest to the vid camera either. Thanks for this most interesting hub molometer!

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