Witnessing an Internet Flash Mob: Zombie Attack in SF (100s of pics and 3 videos)

An internet flash mob is an event that is organized in advance (primiarly using web tools) of people gathering at one specififc time and place for a very outrageous or unepxted event, it’s often a spectacle for others to witness. Cnet, and engadget have reports.

I witnessed San Francisco be terrorized by zombies this Friday afternoon. The rules? A few zombies would attack victims (anyone who put duct tape on themselves was a willing volunteer) gently drag them to the ground and douse them with fake blood. Learn more at Eat Brains.

It was a baptism of sorts, as the newly deceased would arise, groan, and move down the street to find other victims.

You can see videos below of zombies finding street bands, and doing the zombie mash, invading stores (Where they had to leave if told by management) and go down to bart. Terry, Kit, and Shirley were with me, and we saw Jeff McManus of Approver.com

Funniest moments? Two ladies with expensive clothes, manicured nails, and perfect tans in front of Bloomingdales asked me: “Who is it? What’s going on? Is it Britney Spears?” They could only see the cameras, and not the zombies (who had all cascaded down into the catacombs called Bart), “No, it’s a zombie parade”. They didn’t believe me.

And yes, there was a REAL WEDDING, at union square, see pictures below.

As if the chaos wasn’t enough, Critical Mass, (also a form of a flash mob) the anti-car bike rally also was taking over the streets in the city.

What’s interesting about these Internet Flash Mobs is that they then echo online from pictures, videos, and blogs. Here’s a list of some other interesting flash mobs happening.


Above: Zombie Flash Mob and Critical Mass at once, only in SF.


Above: Dancing Zombies. Yup, they’re yelling “Brains”


Above: Zombie Attack, baptism of blood and “Arrrrgh”

Picture 1013I heart my undead childPicture 1008Picture 1009Zombie WeddingFoaming ZombieDont trust the livingHousewife ZombiePicture 909Zombie SoldierZombie GirlPicture 1022zombie reachZombie crowd surfingzombies head down to bartZombie Rights Now!

  • Anna in YVR

    Hi Jeremiah
    “harmless fun” ? What happens when mobs congregate for activities that are neither harmless or funny? The technology is neutral. Human motivations rarely are. Your blog – of which I am a frequent reader has the bi-line “how web tools enable companies to connect with consumers”. Supposing the most popular use of this technology is to connect one angry group with another. How might the Brownshirts in Munich have deployed this technolgy? How might an eonomically disaffected group use this technology to track and qualify individuals for strategic muggings?

    What was the purpose of this post? To show easy crowds can lose their wisdom?

    Can we have some discussion about the responsibilities that come with this liberating, distance-defying mobile technology please….If we’re asking companies to show more corporate responsibility, don’t we have the right and responsibility to do so ourselves too?

    I submit this in the interests of debate and good discussion in an age when reason is apparently under assault

  • http://terrychay.com/blog/ terry chay

    Umm, yes. The only time people should be allowed to get together in hundreds is when they pay for the privilege. Zombies are a bunch of anti-capitalist commies… or is it muslim extremists? As for muggings—honestly, if group needed to mug you, odds are they’re going to have trouble getting internet access, let alone a website.

    There is no doubt that technology is a enabling tool and like any tool it can be used both ways. But that platitude doesn’t entitle anyone to insinuate a value judgment on others having fun, entertaining their neighbors, coworkers, and tourists, and, yes, even having a wedding.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Anna,

    Good points, humans will be humans (or in this case undead) I’m sure we’ll see examples of flashmobs used in the case for evil.

    I’ve got to echo Terry. These are tools, they can be used in a variety of ways, both for good and for evil.

    They are tools, let’s not blame them, but rather those that yield them.

  • http://onlinewebcheck.com/?url=php.tipsfree.info Rocket the Head

    Gorgeous post, Jeremiah – every time I come by your blog is more intersting than the last. Were you just lucky to witness this or did you know about it in advance? How do you find out about these darn things?

    Critical Mass IS flash mob, you betcha, a great expression of independance and was a powerful political demonstration in Austin 10 years ago. I imagine its like that where you are too.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Thanks Rocket

    I knew about this in advance, by signing up on the site and newsletter at eatbrains.com I also saw it on upcoming as well.

    Thanks for the appreciation, I work hard at this blog!

  • Anna in YVR

    Hi Jeremiah
    First, thanks for the blog – I can imagine how much work it entails and it’s a wonderful resource.
    Yes, I fully understand that technology is neutral. Atom splitting is neutral technology too. It is simply because of its neutrality that technology can be used to harm or to benefit, even though what is labelled “harm” or “benefit” is subjective. I was just suggesting that we needed to be conscious of the choices we make when using it and the potential for both “harmless fun” as well as possibly “harmful fun”…
    Keep up the good work

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Anna

    Thanks, I understand your point, and it’s a good one.

  • http://terrychay.com/blog/ terry chay

    Anna.

    We all agree. I’m just thinking that if you want to point out a bad example of a flashmob, then Zombie Day is probably not the best one. It is conceivable that things get out of hand (a la soccer games), but given the socio-economic position of most of the participants, very unlikely. :-)

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  • Brook Vanderford

    Hi! Those wedding pics of our me and my new husband Ben. Thanks for taking them and posting them! We had so much fun, and the way all the observers and zombies helped us pull it off was just amazing.

    -Brook Vanderford

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Brook

    Thanks for letting us be part of your special day, it truly was unique!

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  • http://learnitalian.cribsese.com Frank

    Jeremiah,

    Before I saw the video, I wondered what would have happened if someone were inadvertently accosted with fake blood. Then after I saw the video, I realized that it was mostly permission-based fun.

    I think this kind of stuff will definitely happen more and more (at least for a while). I think it is bringing people together. There will be some carnage, for sure. But for the most part, it brings people together to have some common fun, interests, craziness, connectivity.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Frank

    It’s opt in only. If you put tape on your chest in the form of an X, you’ll get ‘attacked’ by the zombies.

    Everyone else is hands off.

  • nemrut

    ..sorry to rain on the parade but that was incredibly idiotic. are we so starving for attention and entertainment that this is what it has come to…sheesh