theorycast.51 :: The Rise of Us – How Smartmobs Work


As the fourth presenter at the “The Wisdom (and Vicissitudes) of Crowds: Web 2.0, Social Networking, and Higher Education” held at the University at Buffalo, I gave an updated version of my fun crowdsourcing presentation entitled “The Rise of Us”.

The first version of this presentation was featured in The Chronicle for Higher Education (see post from Nov 2006), while the second version added a bit more material (see post from Nov 2007).

In this year’s presentation, I talk about smartmobs, the architecture of collective intelligence and how crowdsourcing manifests itself in popular culture, in both positive and negative ways. You’ll hear examples of smartmobs in the Public Relations industry, citizen journalism, Black Friday websites, as well as in cyberterrorism, such as China’s “human flesh search engines”.

When it comes to ethics, smartmobs swing both ways. As my professor Alex Halavais once remarked, “Wait, you mean smart mobs sometimes behave as… mobs?”