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San Diego’s First Cash Mob

Using Social Media To Support Local Businesses

Above: A cash mob scene from Kent Cash Mob.


Aired 12/6/11

KPBS arts and culture reporter Beth Accomando looks at San Diego's first cash mob.


A cash mob is like a flash mob, only it exercises consumer power rather than dance moves. Cash mobs use social media to organize people to "mob" a small business with the intent of spending $20 each. Clues are given out on Facebook and Twitter but the location is kept secret until just before the event.

Lauren Way is organizing San Diego's first cash mob. Way, whom I've known for a decade, says it's a means for people to show activism in their community without the risks posed by joining the Occupy movement.

"Yeah, this is - it's really about realizing that making an immediate tangible difference in your community is easy and fun," said Way. "And that's my favorite thing about cash mobs, that it's silly and it's fun inherently."

Way was inspired to organize San Diego's first cash mob by her friend Andrew Samtoy, an El Cajon native who now lives in Cleveland. He was one of the first people to execute a cash mob. He says the simplicity appeals to people.

"People feel like they themselves individually can have a small impact on a business and collectively can have a big impact. People want to make a difference and I also think that part of it is that people want to take back their local economies," said Samtoy.

San Diego's first cash mob is set for tonight at 6:30 in South Park. You can follow its progress on Twitter @CMSanDiego or on Facebook.

We'll have a followup feature Wednesday mornig about the event.

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