RIP Flashmobs

I hate to be the buzz kill, but flash mobs are dead. I know what you’re thinking “who is she to declare this amazing dance trend over?” But, seriously, when Oprah and Modern Family are throwing flash mobs into their show for the sake of throwing flash mobs into their show… it’s not clever any more. There’s a time and place for a flashmob and it was once: for this T-Mobile commercial. It has become a cop out for creative thinking.

You know what else I’d like to declare dead? Quora. Yes, I said it. Quora you were over before you ever really began. Great, in theory; horrible in my Twitter feed. Is there anything worse than giving social media experts a platform to show off what experts they are on social media? Don’t they get to do that enough on Twitter? It’s great to have a service where people can answer others’ questions, but I think Ask Jeeves kind of proved that it’s not a sustainable business model. Besides, if I have a burning question, I’ll Google it rather than sign up for yet another social networking site I won’t use.

Also dead? “Mobile.” Obviously the mobile revolution is only beginning, but mobile (much like social media) is something companies suddenly feel like they need to start “doing” with little to no thought or strategy behind it.
Ignorant person: Let’s make a mobile application!
Ignorant person’s friend: Great idea!! Mobile is the new big thing. We’re gonna be rich!
Ignorant person: Maybe people will think we know what we’re doing if we just use the word mobile a lot. Mobile mobile mobile.
Ignorant person’s friend: I think I’ll put mobile in my title. I will now be known as Associate Czar of Mobile!

You get the picture. Like flash mobs and Quora, there is a time and place for mobile. It’s a tool, not the answer. Have you noticed a lot of visitors to your site using the browsers on their cell phones? Perhaps it’s time to consider making your website mobile friendly. Alternatively, it would be pretty silly to tell all of your employees or investors that you are now “going mobile”, without a strategy or understanding of what you can do with mobile technology.

Last but not least, I’d like to say “rest in peace” to tablet computers. No, I don’t think people will stop buying them. No, I don’t think that people will stop developing applications for them. I do, however, think that the time has come to stop talking about tablet like it’s a new, exciting, niche medium. Tablet computers are really just flat computers with a touch interface. Combine a kindle, an iPhone, and a laptop into a blender and you get a tablet. It’s really not that mind-blowing. Therefore, throwing the buzzword “tablet” around in every sentence is likely to impress no one. Want to actually impress someone? Talk about WHY the tablet computer is a “game-changer”. Personally, I’m still waiting to find out.

So what’s the moral of the story here? Jumping on the bandwagon isn’t a strategy. Think about how you can utilize trends and integrate them into your current initiatives. If it doesn’t jive- don’t force it, consider the fact that a flash mob might not be the answer you’re looking for.


*this post originally appeared on Through the Ears of an Entrepreneur. Following publication, Kaitlin Maud became notorious for hating flash mobs. And fun.

Kaitlin Maud