PR news beat fixture and legendary curmudgeon Jack O’Dwyer actually wrote about the Flash Mob organized yesterday at the PRSA International Assembly. (I know, I can’t believe it either). His assessment is … less than accurate (which I know will be surprising to a lot of PRSA members):
“While talking to Stevens, about 20 delegates formed a line and began presenting us with pens.
Bewildered, we started accepting them since delegates were all smiling and this did not look like any criticism of us.
Most just walked away but one finally explained that our blogs on the APR issue had reached a “flashpoint” (gone viral) in Twitter and blogville and that we were being given pens as a recognition of our efforts to communicate.” (Source)
First, I should say that PRSA had nothing to do with the flash mob. It was a bunch of goofballs like me who happened to be delegates. We thought we’d liven up the assembly and have some fun paying tribute to Jack for his tenacious (if occasionally misguided) work to cover PRSA.
I think most PR people would describe their relationship with Jack as similar to that of an exasperating relative; in the end we’re all family, but he can be frustrating to interact with.
We opted to present him with disposable pens in the same way the faculty of Princeton presented John Forbes Nash with their pens in the memorable scene toward the end of “A Beautiful Mind.” We thought it fitting as both Nash and O’Dwyer occasionally have had difficulty matching their version of reality with the version experienced by others. Using the power of social media (primarily Twitter), we coordinated a flash mob to go into effect at 2:45 p.m. when the assembly took a break.
This was the result:
It was a lot of fun, and we decided to extend the flash mob to the entire PRSA 2010 International Conference – so if you see Jack O’Dwyer in the hall, take a moment to present him with the “tribute” of a disposable pen.