Can “Crowd Sourcing” be Fun?

I have already written much about Andrew Keen’s (@ajkeen) book “The Cult of the Amateur” and will most likely write much more as I continue to reflect on the concepts.

One of the thoughts that he makes it that is harder and harder to know when we are being sold to, and when we are just being “talked” to.  Is that Youtube video truly an amateur sharing a moment and a thought?

Today someone on twitter shared a link from YouTube that is a video of a “spontaneous” event filmed at a train station, for a T-Mobile commercial.  In this commercial music starts playing, and the crowd starts dancing… at first a few, then a few more, and then almost everyone.

I would assume they had a few people “seed” the crowd to get them started.  It might even be a LOT of people were “seeded” in the crowd.

But I wondered–are we so easily manipulated that we can be pulled into a commercial for a mobile phone company in real life?

(UPDATE: see below for an update on this.)

Anyway, enjoy the clip!

(And, if you get a chance, go support my son and his effort to get to water polo camp!)

(UPDATE: well it turns out it was apparently ALL choreographed. Hm. That means that while it was a openly sold as a commercial, they manipulated the audience into thinking it was like a “flash mob” event. Hmmmmm)

One thought on “Can “Crowd Sourcing” be Fun?

  • Steve Swartz


    Gtreat stuff actually. And this coming from a self professed “late adopter” of any technology (love my G1 phone by the way). Anyhow, two points from a “technology curmudgeon” on the related Twitter/Cult of the Amateur/YouTube etc. issues:

    1. I read a lot of history (esp U.S. pre/revolutionary war period). I have been thinking for quite some time about the role of “pamphleteers” (Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” only the most notable example) in helping to coagulate the masses into a critical mass of “BAMN” sentiment. Now, given the reduced attention span of most modern day NorteAmericanos (thanks PBS- NOT!), is Twitter the modern day equivalent of the media channel called “pamphleteering” of yore? That sounds an awful lot like a “Comapre and Contrast” question for a Journalism midterm . . .

    2. Ahhh . . . not-so-viral marketing! Yeah, YouTube scams are oh so inevitable! Cases of professional music producers making “amateur music videos” for their ingenue wannabes, etc. are now part of the whole “internet culture.” Look, back when we were actually inventing the internet (ARPANet, actually) people used the medium for all kinds of scams (hey, is that Nigerian Prince out of hte country yet? But I digress. My Irish Lottery prize money should be coming soon . . .).


    Back to the Future?

    Look, people don’t listen to me when I am physically speaking to them in person . . . why on earth would anyone pay more attention to my stream-of-consciousness-tweets?

    the other steve

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