Facebook Flash Mobs Becoming the New Tweetups?

Forget Tweetups. A Facebook flash mob in a London train station became overwhelmingly popular last Friday when a user identifying himself only as Crazzy Eve posted an event on the social network, reports CNN. Modeled after a successful T-Mobile commercial showing hundreds of people dancing to music at the Liverpool Street Station, the sudden outburst at the strike of 11:00 am took commuters and bystanders by surprise. T-Mobile’s motto at the end of the commercial? “Life is for sharing.”

The message from the mobile service provider was so inspiring that Crazzy Eve took it upon himself to create an event on Facebook, where the dancing crowd was so large that many commuters couldn’t even get to their trains. The event was only scheduled for 15 minutes, and organizer Crazzy Eve left after then, for fear that the crowd was in fact too large and he would get in trouble by the police. But it appears that the even remained non-violent and good-humored until the end, with no need for police interjection.

The police have not released an estimate for the number of people that actually participated in the Facebook flash mob, but there are over 14,000 users that have joined the Facebook group. Crazzy Eve has since removed his name from the Facebook group and event, but more of these dancing flash mobs have been scheduled for the next two Fridays at Trafalgar Square in central London and again at Liverpool Street Station. It appears that Crazzy Eve has gotten away with it once, but how many times can this commercial-inspired flashmob take place before things get out of hand?

Typically when we learn of parties that were spread across Facebook, we also hear of the police force that was called out to squelch the rowdy get together. But that’s not the case with this train station flash mob, and let’s hope that things stay that way. A rowdy, dancing crowd in a heavily populated train station could be bad news for Crazzy Eve, the city of London, T-Mobile and even Facebook. Even though Crazzy Eve didn’t expect his event to become as popular as it did, the 22-year-old may also be pressing his luck.

There’s not too much Facebook can do about it, but it’s difficult to ignore the sheer magnitude of a network that’s become so widespread in our global culture that an event can gain 14,000 fans in less than two weeks. And who knows what will happen with the flash mob mentality now that Facebook has opened its platform further to include status updates, taking Twitter (and maybe now the concept of the Tweetup) head on. Being able to combine Facebook events with status updates could enable even further spreading of flash mob information, making it even easier for someone like Crazzy Eve to end up in hot water after a string of highly successful events in public London spaces.

And while this seems like great press for T-Mobile right now, any legal issues that may arise from a flash mob crowd getting out of hand could ultimately reflect poorly on T-Mobile as a brand. For the time being, however, I imagine T-Mobile is basking in the ongoing success that social networking has provided for some user-driven marketing.