One of the saddest things I've ever witnessed was University of Maryland’s attempt to pull off a “Gangnam Style” flash mob. It had all the ingredients for a successful flash mob: a huge open dance area, big student turnout and a camera crew ready and waiting to capture the magic. Yet somehow, it just didn't work. If you were ever wondering what a wasted opportunity looks like, here’s a prime example:
Where did it all go wrong? Let me break it down for you:
1.) Making a Facebook event for a flash mob ruined the spontaneity. Sure, that was the largest number of students I’ve ever seen on McKeldin Mall at one time, but a flash mob isn’t a flash mob if it doesn’t happen in a flash. This was way too staged for its own good.
2.) The Mall has great acoustics, a strength that was wasted by the worst speaker system in the history of electronics. Don't let the video fool you: that music is not live, but rather dubbed over the footage. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure flash mobs need music that everyone can hear. The mobbers looked like a bunch of crazy people dancing to the music in their heads thanks to an anemic sound system.
3.) Speaking of the dancing…what the hell was that? Gangnam Style isn’t exactly the tango; anyone can do it with the right combination of coordination and shamelessness. All I saw out there were a bunch of random gyrations and half-hearted attempts to be Psy (a fool’s errand – that man is one of a kind). A little preparation could’ve made this look less embarrassing.
To be fair though, this was one of the few times I’ve ever seen so many different types of students come together for a common goal. In that sense, the Facebook event served its purpose. Also, this happened:
UMD: next time, step up your game. If you need a little inspiration, here’s what a real, polished “Gangnam Style” flash mob looks like courtesy of Cornell University:
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