The First Italian Flash Mob

July 19th, 2003

Londoners have been talking about organizing a flash mob for weeks and weeks. Now, with minimal talk, it seems the Romans will beat the Brits to the punch and create Europe’s first flash mob.

Our Senior Rome Correspondent “J. Jack Flash” reports that a flash mob has been planned in Rome next Thursday, July 24. Here’s the invitation: in Italian and in English.

In other news: Flash mobs are arising in Boston and in Phoenix, Arizona.

23 Responses to “The First Italian Flash Mob”

  1. comment number 1 by: Joel

    Which Londoners have been talking about this exactly? I have, certainly:

    but be interested to hear of others. If anyone plans anything in London, I’d be happy to publicise it.

  2. comment number 2 by:

    Joel, I don’t remember specifically who was talking about this (I don’t know them) but if you view the comments under my first 3 or so New York flash mob postings, you’ll find at least 3 or 4 comments there in which Londoners talk about organizing a flash mob.

  3. comment number 3 by: JJFlash


    If you’re interested in an English translation of the invitation to the Roman mob, go here:

    (Sean: you can edit the entry with that address and remove this comment, that’s fine with me 🙂

  4. comment number 4 by: Claudia

    Disconcertingly, the Boston proto-mob has been contacted for interviews by a Boston Globe reporter before anything has even *happened*. There’s a lesson here about subtlety. I’m glad it’s public enough that I can find out about it to participate, but there’s an obvious downside.

  5. comment number 5 by:

    You’re right, Claudia. There is a lesson here about subtlety, and here it is:
    Never seek subtlety in a mob.

    Let’s hope the story hits the presses soon enough to make the first Boston flash mob a raging success.


  6. comment number 6 by: Claudia

    Well, the organizers have closed membership to the yahoo group and asked that none of us talk to the reporter, which I think is a good call.

    The mob itself is of *course* not subtle, but I think the lead-up to it should be. Perhaps they should even change the previously-mentioned general location or time of the first one now.

  7. comment number 7 by:

    I don’t understand your request for subtlety. But if you want me to remove my link to your closed group I will.

    An open letter to the Boston group:

    Boston folks:

    I love a lot of what I see here, but the closure of your list shocks and saddens me.

    What’s the motivation for that? I can understand a desire to exclude the government and large corporations from getting involved, in order to prevent this thing from losing its grassroots element and its humanity.

    But closing your list doesn’t close out the government (i.e., law enforcement) or megacorporations (i.e., firms that might try to
    sponsor future events, or that might lead unsuspecting participants to purchase their crap during a flash mob). These institutions have sufficient resources to get to your announcements in any case.

    Closing your list shuts out regular people who might want to participate. The first people to hear about these events tend to be rich, white or Asian, 20-something hipster early-adopters, then participation widens as word gets around. Considering Boston’s history, it will be tragic if yours becomes the first city to restrict its flash mob events to such a narrow group of people, before the first event even happens.

    It’s a free country and you should carry out whatever sorts of pranks and social experiments you want. Go for it. But maybe you should decide right now what your goals are. Do you want to create a flash mob, or a flash clique?


  8. comment number 8 by: Ad

    A happy band of Londonders are making a start, we had a route walk through today and the real event is soon.

  9. comment number 9 by: estella

    I’m following the Arizona flash mob. There’s an event tentatively planned for September… any sooner and there would be internally-cooked mobbers lying dead in the heat. Mobs should have mobility, not heat stroke.

  10. comment number 10 by: Thomas

    Is there another Phoenix, besides Arizona? any particular reason why the state was include, for example you did say London England or Rome Italy, just wondering…

  11. comment number 11 by: nate

    re: boston FMs

    the reporter ended up being in the newsgroup list. and mentioned that her editors are greatly interested in covering the story. sure fine thats cool with me. but cover it after it happens [or at least let it happen once, then go] my heart would sink if i went to a meet up and saw a fox 25 crew there ready for something to happen. which could in turn lead to “extra security” precautions. as seen in NYC FM #1:
    ” i am thinking, in particular, of
    whoever saw it necessary to tell the store and/or the
    police department about MOB #1, causing SIX POLICE
    OFFICERS AND A PADDYWAGON to be sent out to disrupt
    it. ”
    i hope you can empithize with that. the list isnt really closed, its just not as easily joinable. i know that sounds lame but 108 current members [107 if you knock off the reporter] is a good size because you have to think 108+everyone from the word of mouth group. i hope it to be a success and i am excited to see what is in store. if you have any ideas about squealers i’m sure many mob bosses [heh] would love to know.
    cheers + i love the site,

  12. comment number 12 by: Sandman

    italian do it better! 🙂

  13. comment number 13 by: MO

    I would start a Flash Mob in Austria/Vienna, it¥s a fantastic thing, i hope the people in Austria are interesting with it.

  14. comment number 14 by: Anonymous

    Hehehe…. Mob Boss. =)

  15. comment number 15 by: Domenico ed Ornella

    PassDoc Off-art continues its clandestine activity with: “Meeting and portrait”

    Friday 20/08/03 at 06,30 p.m. near the Keep of Canterbury (U.K.)

    Vernissage flash, perfomance, photo and friendship, join us, we are waiting for you.
    Atmosphere by Wind of Oloe. Info:

    Press release:
    When art becomes life, PassDoc off is a project of conviviality for art, in which the work is the passion for art and the friendship among people, the joy of sharing common time, to be together, to know one another, the possibility to dialogue among people that love art. The project is articulated in a series of meetings in different centres of art ( 25/04/03 Nice, 20/06/03 Venice, 20/08/03 Canterbury…). Within these moments of aggregation there will be little instants of art.

    PassDoc Off-art is an artistic suggestion by D.O.O.C. (Domenico Olivero e Ornella Calvetti)

    the next appointment 20/11/03 at San Francisco (USA).

    please circulate this invitation!

  16. comment number 16 by: Boston City Mob

    The Boston City Mob site membership was never closed, we just had to moderate it for a day or two. It is now open for anybody to immediately join. However, we have had to moderate postings in order to protect our members from spam.

    We are not planning on changing anything else.

    Hewlett & Packard

  17. comment number 17 by:

    In a comment above, Thomas asked why I wrote just “London” and just “Rome” while for Phoenix I wrote “Phoenix, Arizona.”

    Good question. It wasn’t a random choice; Associated Press style standards suggest that you specify the state (or country if outside the U.S.) for all cities and towns, with certain very well-known exceptions that include London, Rome, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and so on. You can find the full list of exceptions in the AP Stylebook, or online in several places I’m sure.

    The theory is that most readers know where the major cities are so you can save space and save the reader’s time by mentioning those cities by their names alone. I think that makes sense, no?

    (Actually I wasn’t using completely proper AP style there, because AP style calls for abbreviating Arizona as “Ariz.” but I think that’s sort of ugly…)

  18. comment number 18 by: Hofratgeiger

    IÂ¥d like to see a Flashmob in VIENNA, AUSTRIA !!!!
    any plans?

  19. comment number 19 by: MinneapolisMob

    We had too much lead time and too much press for the Minneapolis event. The actual event had a heavy police presence. We still performed both mob events with little trouble. It scared away a few people, but those who still took part had a blast!

    As for keeping out the press, don’t count on it. If people want to find out details, they are going to find them. Why limit the effect. Those that want to know will take part and those who encounter the event will still be scratching their heads and wonder what is going on.


  20. comment number 20 by: El Gato

    The Armies of Ur are marching on the pebbled streets of the Eternal City… Rome will be FLASMOBBED!

  21. comment number 21 by: ReNero

    well, i was in the FIRST EUROPEAN mob, and it was great :> i loved staring at the shocked faces in the shop.. really cool 🙂

  22. comment number 22 by: Meg

    I hope Boston has another flashmob soon, becuase i missed the first one. im glad they reopened the lists!

  23. comment number 23 by: Dave

    That’s cool that they reopened the lists… I missed them a lot :))