Online flashmob organisation

  • Goal

* Fostering social participation – arranging events in the local community

* Fostering personal development - improving communication skills through contacts with peers

* Improving management skills – self-management, task management and cooperation

Young people at risk are rarely motivated enough to do something for others. Usually they also lack self-confidence and courage to initiate any serious action that can be watched and attended by people outside their group - they fear big expectations by others. They also find it hard to cooperate with other people and share tasks. Organising an online flashmob teaches management, cooperation and communication skills while having fun. The fun motivates young people to keep on going.

 

  • Activity

Online organisation of a real-life flashmob (flashmob = an unexpected event involving a group of people who appear somewhere public and perform a short, usually amusing, act).

We created a group for the Polish Incluso participants on the Ning social networking platform, which was both a partly closed and a partly open environment. In the beginning of each action young people would meet in the Ning chatroom for brainstorming. The first meeting was to choose the best idea for a flashmob. Then once a week they would meet to discuss the details: set the time and place, find a coordinator within the group, share tasks, create a list of materials and equipment needed, decide who is going to collect money and buy the necessary items, who is going to ask permission from the local authority to perform in a public space etc. The last online meeting was to do the final checklist. In between the meetings young people would share their ideas, questions and comments on the Ning platform, using the forum, blog, comments and mailbox functionalities.

The actual events took about 30-40 minutes each. We organised two flashmobs during the pilot research:

  1. Mopping the surface of a small, public square in Krakow (very amusing and aimed mostly at entertainment for the group and spectators)
  2. A pantomime game with passers-by in the city centre (requiring more communication and cooperation skills).

Each performance was filmed. Then the movie was edited and uploaded both on YouTube and Ning.

 

  • Tools and resources used

People:

10-15 young people acting as performers

2 educators/tutors/teachers

Tools:

Ning social networking platform (chat, forum, blogs, comments, mailbox, movie upload): for sharing ideas, opinions and management

YouTube: for uploading movies showing their activities

Materials:

Mopping a surface of a town square: 10-15 mops, 2-3 buckets, movie camera

Pantomime game: 1 easel, flip-chart paper, 2-3 markers, 1 simple poster promoting the game, movie camera

Time:

 

One month per event

5-6 hours weekly per person

 

  • Results and evaluation

The young people enjoyed the whole organisation process very much, as well as the performances themselves. They were very pleased with the results and interactions with passers-by. After both flashmobs they were full of positive emotions. Filming the events turned out to be a good method of capturing tangible results. The first flashmob helped the participants to overcome shyness, as they had to make fools of themselves in a public space  (in a positive way!). The public pantomime game allowed for training both non-verbal (pantomime) and verbal (discussions with passers-by) communication skills. Both flashmobs provided opportunity for training communication skills with peers in a cooperation process. Several times a week young people had to participate in online discussions about various aspects of the organised event. Both events required some management skills (time management, purchase organisation, task sharing) which were developed through online work. Small scale events let the young people take control over the whole process, get more skilled and confidence. To sum up: online flashmob organisation is a way of developing multidimensional skills in small scale and safe circumstances.