These were the instructions given to over 50 people gathered in the middle of Manchester last night to join the Last Laugh Flash Mob. For two minutes, members of the public were involved in a performance of impromptu laughing, whilst passers by looked on in bemusement.
“I'm always up for something fun, so I thought why not.” Jamie Austin, from Whalley Range, heard about the Flash Mob through a friend.
They are a spectacle of choreographed, spontaneous dancing involving masses of people. Flash mobs take precision and planning to pull off, but when successful, they are a sight to be seen.
We also take a look at the rebranding of "flash mobs" from innocent, if sometimes silly, spontaneous gatherings to, at least in some people's eyes, an opportunity for crime and other shenanigans?
Is there something to this? Or is blaming social media for crime just a cop-out?
A "flash mob" believed to have been organized on the Internet robbed a Maryland convenience store in less than a minute, police said Tuesday, and now authorities are using the same tool to identify participants in the crime.
Surveillance video shows a couple of teens walking into the Germantown 7-Eleven store Saturday at 1:47 a.m. Then, in a matter of seconds, dozens more young people entered and grabbed items from store shelves and coolers.
There have been several assaults by teens on residents in recent weeks, and the beatings have left people badly injured. The city cites the culprits as members of a "flash mob," which is a group of people who decide to gather at a given place via e-mail and social media.
(A flash mob, for the YouTube averse, is a group stunt in which a large number of people meet at a specified location to perform some predetermined act — usually a dance — and thereby amaze or totally terrify everyone around them.) While the FWB flash mob was admittedly charming, it's also a very specific reference, and one that feels slightly staler with each occurrence.
Thanks to Shonan Kothari, 200 people got together and danced in the middle of the crowded station, three years and a day after the November 26 attacks at the same place.
A YouTube video of the flash mob has been viewed nearly 150,000 times and went viral on social networking sites.
They were told to blend in — no Santa hats or ugly sweaters — just look like any other hurried commuter until they heard the cue.
And then, flash mob.
Flash mobs are sudden gatherings of people who briefly perform an unusual act, and then disperse like nothing had happened. They are supposed to seem spontaneous and surprise the public.
Flash mobs, the social network and text-message organized groups comprised mainly of youths, are nothing new.
Originally, they came together for very quick performance art in public places. But whereas the clusters used to get together mainly for nonsensical fun like pillow fights and Glee performances, some have taken on criminal intent — and some cases violence — in cases dubbed “flash robs.”
As my colleague Ian Urbina reported last year, after an outbreak of flash mob violence one observer compared to “a tsunami of kids,” Philadelphia’s police force “announced plans to step up enforcement of a curfew already on the books, and to tighten it if there is another incident.”