Monday, March 8, 2010

Pop! goes the weasel...

The rise of social networking gave birth to flash mobs. The next generation of raves (and the next-next generation of '60s Happenings), flash mobs organize on Facebook or Twitter or through email; all the participants show up at a given place at the given time and do whatever activity was planned. This YouTube video of a crowd of Romans singing a song from "Glee" in a mall is proof that, while usually benign, flash mobs are also usually a little pointless.

However, the New York Times Magazine profiled a group called a "crop mob" that is actually very handy. Run on the same premise as a flash mob, crop mobs mobilize to aid young, small farmers in getting specific tasks done. Forty to 50 20-somethings gather at the chosen farm for a day to box thousands of pounds of produce or prep greenhouses or even to clear rocks and brush from a field. The volunteers focus on building a community, and the only thing it costs the farmer is lunch.

Something akin to the flash mob but is decidedly more bourgeois is the pop up. Be it a store or a restaurant, the new trend in launching a business or testing out its feasibility is to "pop up" in someone else's spot. Practically always unannounced and often changing spots nightly, the pop up appeals to those who aspire to be "in the know." The LA Times published an article on the rules for finding pop ups as well as highlighting some of the more popular ones in New York. Hint: to find 'em, you gotta follow 'em. Score another for social networking...

(Photo courtesy of The New York Times Magazine)

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