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How to Smart Mob

Want to get a point across in a very big way? Organize a smart mob—a group of people who mobilize on short notice to perform a collective action. For more information on social movements, go to "":http//


  • : Be aware of local laws and regulations regarding large gatherings. A smart mob could be illegal in certain instances.
  • Step 1: Clarify your goal Determine your overall goal. Do you want to raise awareness about a social issue? Protest a political decision? Organize an art performance? Clarify what you want to achieve.
  • Step 2: Decide on the event Figure out the specific act that will help achieve your goal. The key is that everyone participates together at the same exact moment.
  • TIP: You can physically gather at a set location, or simultaneously perform the same act from different places.
  • Step 3: Prepare Make sure you're prepared: Scope out your location, get contact information for the people you plan to invite, and set up a group list on your phone, so you can text everyone by hitting just one button.
  • TIP: You can also organize a smart mob through a social networking or microblogging site. There are even web sites dedicated to creating and maintaining group lists.
  • Step 4: Set the date Set the date and time for the smart mob, and roughly calculate how long it will take for participants to reach the location. You may want to alert people to the date ahead of time, but keep all other information secret.
  • TIP: Smart mobs can be especially effective in places that discourage free assembly. By the time anyone who would want to stop you finds out, your group has already gathered.
  • Step 5: Keep the message short The key to a smart mob lies in its lightning-fast execution and mass distribution. Don’t write a dissertation--text messages are generally limited to 160 characters--and encourage people to forward the message along.
  • Step 6: Contact the media If you want to publicize your smart mob’s actions, contact the media just before the smart mob swarms, and don’t include many details to keep an element of surprise.
  • TIP: If you photograph or videotape the event, you can also publicize it after the fact.
  • Step 7: Head to the location Hit send! Now head to your smart mob location.
  • Step 8: Perform the action and leave Perform the collective action. Disperse calmly and quietly. Success!
  • FACT: In 2001, Filipinos responded to forwarded text messages by gathering in a Manila plaza. The demonstration helped bring down the government of President Joseph Estrada.

You Will Need

  • A plan
  • A cell phone
  • A computer with an internet connection
  • Contacts
  • A still or video camera

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