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Mall of Louisiana flash mob riot: not all flash mobs are alike

A teen flash mob brawl at the Mall of Louisiana and flash robs are the darker side of the social media phenomenon that has frequently been used for good: Like Caine's Arcade support or building awareness about a public issue or just for good, clean fun.

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An education thriller
Sacramento State University students joined together in a choreographed flash mob in support of California’s Proposition 30 – a proposal (that later passed) to raise income taxes on the state’s wealthiest citizens and increase the sales tax in order to fund education. They boogied to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which really must be one of the top flash mob tunes around.

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is a longtime Monitor correspondent. She lives in Andover, Mass. with her husband, her two young daughters, a South African Labrador retriever and an imperialist cat..

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“This is kind of a way to reach out to students and a cooler way to show, ‘Hey, Prop. 30 is here and if you’re interested about it you can go research it,’ ” graduate student Allison McNamara, who helped organize and choreograph the event, told the student paper.

Caine’s Arcade

OK, so this isn’t teen-only event, but it involves enough young people that we just had to include it.  The story of the little boy in East L.A. who built his own arcade out of cardboard boxes in the front of his dad’s auto parts store was one of 2011’s most heartwarming tales. And if you recall, the turning point of the story was all about a flash mob. Filmmaker Nirval Mullick invited people over social media to show up at Caine’s elaborate homemade arcade and make the little boy’s day – the result was a tear-jerking and sweet film that also went viral online.

Do-Si-Do

In June, dozens of teens gathered in downtown Seattle, not to storm Nordstrom or 7-Eleven, but to.... square dance.  Yup, square dance. As in do-si-do that partner. Admittedly, a number of the participants were in teen square dancing clubs, so it’s hard to know exactly how random was this random display of dancing.  But the youtube video makes it look a lot more fun than it was during my middle-school camping trips ...   and it seems from the footage that a bunch of adults walking by decide to join the fun.

Awareness raising

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic violence organized a flash mob dance in Providence to raise awareness about teen dating violence. The young women  (and a few guys) danced to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive,” which is almost as good as “Thriller” for these purposes, we say.  Teen activists have participated in a slew of similar dances across the country, from Washington, D.C. to St. Louis, Missouri.

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