Smart Mob - Examples


Essentially, the smart mob is a practical implementation of collective intelligence. According to Rheingold, examples of smart mobs are the street protests organized by the anti-globalization movement. The Free State Project has been described in Foreign Policy as an example of potential "smart mob rule". Other examples of smart mobs include:

  • Smart mobs who arrange the meet up over the Internet and show up at a retailer at a specific time and use their number to negotiate a discount with the retailer.
  • eBay — a collection of users who are empowered by the Internet and eBay to buy and sell and maintain the quality control over all transactions through the rating system. People can leave positive, negative or neutral feedback, depending on how they felt about their transaction with that seller.
  • Text messages that were sent in the Philippines, which are thought to be partly responsible for the demonstration that ousted former President Joseph Estrada. Examples of such a text message read "Wear black to mourn the death of democracy", "Expect there to be rumbles" and "Go to EDSA".
  • The 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks (11M), and the reaction from the people against the government in the Spanish elections of 14 March 2004.
  • The 2005 civil unrest in France exhibited smart mobs - the French national police spokesman, Patrick Hamon, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that youths, mainly those of the Muslim faith, in individual neighborhoods were communicating by cellphone text messages, online blogs, and/or email — arranging meetings and warning each other about police operations.
  • The 2006 student protests in Chile and 2007 Chilean government-Microsoft agreement are the example in Latin America about the smart mobs and the use of weblogs, Fotologs, Photoblogs, text messages and digital organization in a few hours. Also due to their online organization has called the attention of the press as a source of news because of the strong activism online.
  • On July 5, 2005, during U2's performance of the song New Year's Day at a stadium in Chorzów, Poland, the audience of 70,000 waved colored articles of clothing to form a giant Polish flag of white and red: fans on the pitch waved red, those in the bleachers waved white. This behavior was coordinated by fans communicating on the Internet.
  • On November 6, 2008, more than 500 students across Taiwan began a sit-in protest in front of the Executive Yuan. Known as the Wild Strawberry Students Movement 野草莓學運, this assembly was mobilised overnight with the help of an on-line Bulletin Board System (BBS). The students were equipped with mobile technology such as HSDPA (high speed download packet access) and web-cameras. They soon set up a live broadcast that aired for 24 hours a day over the internet for more than a week, and they used mobile devices to keep up to date with government reactions on the mass media. One of the main themes of the protest was for amendment of the Assembly and Parade Law that curbed freedom of expression: this demand earned support from various non-government organizations nationwide.

Smart mobs have begun to have an impact in current events, as mobile phones and text messages have empowered everyone from revolutionaries in Malaysia to individuals protesting the second Iraq war. Individuals who have divergent worldviews and methods have been able to coordinate short-term goals thanks to these technologies.

The comic book Global Frequency, written by Warren Ellis, describes a covert, non-governmental intelligence organization built around a smart mob of people that are called on to provide individual expertise in solving extraordinary crises.

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