Antedating of "flash mob", n.2
hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 15 09:52:20 UTC 2013
> PS Know Your Meme claims:
> "The concept of improvising a public assembly was first denoted as a “smart mob” in author Howard Rheingold’s book Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution published in 2002. The term “flash mob” was coined a year later by Harper’s Magazine senior editor Bill Wasik, who organized the first flash mob event at Macy’s department store in New York City on June 3rd, 2003, following a failed attempt earlier in May."
> This may be true, but at least the 16th June email from the organiser quoted on the blogpost above (for "MOB #2") doesn't use the full term, only "MOB". Likewise this 27th May email for "MOB #1" and this 25th June for "MOB #3":
> This later article names Sean Savage as the originator of the term "flash mob".
I've had confirmation from Bill Wasik that Sean Savage came up with the term:
Yeah, the term came from @savage, not me. I just called them "inexplicable mobs"
Bill also wrote this in a 2011 Wired cover story:
Back in 2003, as a sort of social experiment, I sent an email to friends and asked them to forward it along, looking to gather “inexplicable mobs” of people around New York. … I even called my events “mobs,” as a wink to the scary connotations of a large group gathered for no good reason. But I didn’t come up with the name flash mob—that honor belongs to Sean Savage, a UC Berkeley grad student who was blogging about my events and the copycats as they happened. He added the word “flash” as an analogy to a flash flood, evoking the way that these crowds (which in the original version arrived all at once and were gone in 10 minutes or less) rushed in and out like water from a sudden storm.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
More information about the Ads-l