Forms of social organization: the Hashmob

We’re sure you remember what a flashmob is? If you don’t, have a look!

Flashmobs are seemingly spontanious gatherings of large groups of people assembling suddenly somewhere in public space, and then disperse again. Most of the time this is organized via social media or viral emails. But time doesn’t stand still. The next generation of flashmobs is already on his way. The new phenomena is called hashmob, and even if we’re reporting from Amsterdam, we didn’t make this name up ourselves. The term is derived from the ‘hashtags’ that are commonly used to categorize tweets within the Twitter realtime stream. In contrast to flashmobs, members of a hashmob gather virtually, around a particular hashtag and follow the resulting hashtag tweet stream.

As Rough Type is reporting, this new form of social organization lead recently to a mass hysteria around the hashtag #amazonfail., as the result of a foul-up relating to its classification system for products, temporarily removed gay-and-lesbian-themed books from its sales rankings. In no time this turned into a raging torrent of thousands tweets an hour. And even more because journalists have become some of the most avid Twitterers,  hashmob quickly gained a good bit of press coverage.

After having raged a day or two in this purely realtime environment and some conspiracy theories later, the hashmob slowly disappeared after Amazon proclaimed that the episode was a unfortunate mistake and doesn’t reflect a new policy.

But again, there’s lots of potential in this one.

via Rough Type


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