The Connected Crowd: Physical Gatherings in a Digital Age


Today we often use the word “crowd” to describe groups of people in cyberspace (e.g., crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and so on). But when electronic communication brings people together in real life, the physical crowd follows different patterns than online crowds do. Drawing on examples that include the London riots, Occupy Wall Street, the TED conferences, and his own experience with flash mobs, Bill Wasik sketches out how digital media have changed the way we get together today. Filmed live at the Event Innovation Forum, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand how technologies that may seem to undermine live events, are paradoxically increasing the need for in-person gatherings.
  • Learn the dynamics that drive the formation of flash mobs and similar social gatherings.
  • Identify the principles that connected crowds have in common.

Course Information

Estimated Time: 12 mins

Difficulty: Intermediate


CMP Credit Hours:

Bill Wasik

Bill edits feature-length articles on technology, science, and culture. Prior to joining Wired in 2010, he was an editor at Harper’s Magazine for 10 years. He is the author of And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture, and co-author of the forthcoming Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus (summer 2012 from Viking). He lives in Oakland with his wife, son, and whippet.

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