Open Source Flash Mob / Flash Party

Below is a copy of my email (slightly edited) to Kars Alfrink, who gave the great talk Freedom to Play – Urban Procedural Rhetorics at Reboot 10. The email was addressed to him, but is open to all.

It’s Chris Comella. I was at your talk and asked you about unintended consequences (not to discourage of course, but as an interesting thing to consider). Anyway, I loved your talk… so many points I can’t list them all. The Amsterdam blank banners, UK UFOs, ARGs, your mobile app/game idea, and Parkour (loved your idea about inviting the founder).

Along the lines of Urban Procedural Rhetorics, ARG, and your mobile app/game, I have a wacky idea I want to run by you. FlashParty.org and FlashParty.mobi are two domain I registered for the idea, which came to me Friday night outside of the Reboot after party at Vega.

A couple of Danish guys (unrelated to Reboot) showed up across the street from Vega with a homemade battery-powered and wheel-mounted music system. They started shouting about “free beer.” I was one of the first curious people to go say hi to them and sure enough, they were handing out free beer to get the party started. Then more and more people came and collections were taken up and more beer was acquired and sold at cost. It turned into a huge street scene (some pics here). A flash mob / flash party. See video clip.

More of my thoughts and comments on the general concept.

Anyway, I thought of a game/app/ARG where members register for a mobile web app. The concept could be developed in many ways, one of which is this:

-Members register and download the app to their phones (with GPS or other geolocation technology)

-Members tag beverage stores (good places to buy beer) and good locations to have flash parties (perhaps locations without cameras, which are also tagged, perhaps FlashParty is a branch of your game concept, but central to the critical mass (see below).

-The app tracks members locations and when enough are in a similar vicinity a critical mass / critical state is formed and everybody in that location gets an alert, saying the Flash Party has gone critical mass in their vicinity, would they be interested in forming a flash party. They ping the app back yes/no/maybe (and maybe what they can bring (music/beverages) to get it started.

-Based on the tags (and maybe what people say they can bring — beer for example), the app calculates and ranks the top three (or whatever) suggested spots for the flash party and stores to buy beer.

-The app asks people to vote on the preferred location. There’s a 15 minute (or whatever) voting window. Most votes wins and people are notified. They then commit (yes/no).

-The app updates everyone on the number of commits and the mob springs into action.

-A flash party develops.

Well, that’s the general idea. It could be done in various ways and this original idea can be morphed, but it just seemed kinda cool to me.

What do you think? I personally don’t have to time, money, or technical ability to drive something like this, but I’ll bet if this app was developed and promoted, it could be a lot of fun. An ARG kind of thing.

Any interest in playing with this idea with me, bringing in others, possibly doing it?! We need a flash mob of designers and developers here. Anyone? Please comment. Imagine if this worked and enough people participated that critical masses popped up often enough to make it fun and interesting (and irritating those still trapped in their self-imposed prisons… maybe a few would free themselves).

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One Response to “Open Source Flash Mob / Flash Party”

  1. thank you i love this games 🙂

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