Flash mob: a multidisciplinary review

Samer Al-khateeb, Nitin Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Since the year 2003, the term “flash mob” has been studied in various disciplines and was referred to by various media outlets to describe various events. The term "flash mob" originally meant to describe a phenomenon in which a group of people assembles in a public space, perform a seemingly random act, then quickly disperse. This phenomenon was expected to die just like other types of public performances, e.g., the eighties' raves. However, this phenomenon is still alive and became widespread in various forms. Since this phenomenon was new, mentioned in the media, and depended on technology, it is unwise to assume that everyone knows its exact meaning. Many traditionalist flash mobbers become concerned that the global diffusion of flash mobs has diluted their original meaning. So, in this summative, chronological, and by topic literature review article, we explore the disciplines in which this term was used; then investigate its various forms and propose the term “Mob” to be the root term so we can categorize its various forms (branches) and eliminate ambiguities; and prove that this phenomenon still exists. Finally, we try to shed light on what is missing from the literature and what needs to be studied in the future with regard to this topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97
JournalSocial Network Analysis and Mining
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Media Technology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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