The scene is all part of flash mob fun.
By Michael J. ARVIZU
Glendale Community College Mass Communications 101 students staged a flash mob outside the campus auditorium building on Sept. 20 as part of an extra credit project.
About 76 students participated in the exercise, which involved students from four mass communications classes taught by GCC instructor Dr. Mike Eberts, and other campus groups, said flash mob organizer and mass communications student Jane Pojawa.
The flash mob was organized primarily through email and the use of popular social media website Facebook. By using email and Facebook, students were able to discuss with one another the details of the project, including when and where the flash mob would take place and what ultimately would be staged, as well as invite other people.
After about a week of debate, students decided on staging a pillow fight during the noon hour. Other than a few basic rules – the flash mob had to be safe and staged in a public place on the GCC campus – the entire project was organized from start to finish with little or no assistance from Eberts.
Flash mobs are performances that begin with little or no warning, but whose participants have planned in advance. The goal is to catch people going about their normal business by surprise. Usually, a hidden cue is given to begin the flash mob, and bystanders can only watch in amazement as the act runs its course. At the conclusion of the act, the performers go their separate ways as if nothing had happened. A flash mob in 2008 featured 200 actors freezing in place at the exact same second for five minutes during rush hour at Grand Central Terminal in New York. The video of the flash mob has garnered over 31 million views on YouTube.
The goal of the project was “an object lesson in using social media to motivate people to do something,” said Eberts. “I wanted it to be something where pretty much anyone could participate. I’m just fascinated in the idea of flash mobs.”
The flash mob – the first extra credit project of its kind for Eberts – also allowed students to bond with one another, which creates prospects for better success in school, Eberts said.
Mass communications student Pamela Buitrago, who does not use Facebook, learned about the flash mob through other students in her class. She feels that a mixture of social media and face-to-face contact are more conducive to organizing a successful event, especially for people who do not use social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
“I’m not a person that lives on my phone,” she said. “If they told me over the Internet, I probably would not have gone.”