top of page
  • Raghav Sand

Crowd: Audience, Mob, Force, etc.

“A crowd is a large group of people who have gathered together, for example to watch or listen to something interesting, or to protest about something.” The aforementioned definition for the word crowd is as per the Collins English Dictionary. ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ is a well-known phrase; it is not just theoretical, but is actually practical. Though, mostly the word crowd is associated with events and entertainment industry, and political rallies or protests. Apparently, there is a much bigger scope and scale for the word crowd.

Crowd in Events and Entertainment

An artist or a sportsperson makes the transition from being a common person to a celebrity after approval and adulation from the public. Individual skill and expertise in a team sport or project also gets recognition. After years of practice in isolation, when hard work and destiny align, the final product of this elusive union is priceless. Fame and wealth seldom stay away from people who have the backing of the crowd.

The fame and fortune earned are sustainable only if they are earned from productive and positive means. A performer’s actions seek an audience. Apart from a handful of creative activities, the mantra with respect to crowd in the events and entertainment industry is ‘the more the merrier’.


The mob is a large crowd of people especially bent on riotous or destructive action. Those who outsource thinking to others, eventually end up inflicting involuntary, but irreparable harm to public property and themselves. It is a pity that such pawns are on their own when an adverse action under law is pursued by police and courts. It is a fundamental right of every individual to voice their opinion, but sadly this privilege is abused more often than not. Many people live in countries where registering dissent can lead to terrible consequences. It is important to think and act on individual instinct and show restraint while undertaking actions based on borrowed wisdom. Similarly, if one believes in a principle, it is advisable to stay the course. Many important movements lose steam before resolution because not enough people believe in the cause and effect of their actions.

The Times of Social Media

Social media is the epitome of crowd mentality. People exercise no caution or moderation on digitally-mediated platforms. In less than two decades since its inception, social media’s drawbacks outweigh its benefits. There are certain notable gains from the crowds that populate social media channels, among which finding and staying in touch with old friends and relatives is supreme. Individual creators get an audience on social media, while several others find collaborators.

Social media can be a menace or messiah – and it all depends on perspective. The constant feedback and validation loop of social media crowd is addictive and destructive, but sadly this is how the world now operates.

Crowd and the Economy

Crowdfunding is when small donations / contributions from businesses, organizations, or individuals fund a project. It has gained popularity in the age of internet and social media. Two of the most common examples of crowdfunding are raising capital for a venture and collecting funds for a social cause. Primarily, there are four types of crowdfunding – donation, debt, rewards and equity.

Raising debt and equity capital is used by commercial ventures, while rewards and donations are mostly applied in non-commercial activities. Donation-based crowdfunding is when people give a campaign, company or person money for nothing in return. Under the rewards-based crowdfunding, donors receive something in return for their donations. The rewards vary by the quantum of the donation, which encourages higher contributions. Based on how much money participants give to a campaign, they may receive a token like a T-shirt, product or service – often at a discounted rate.

Brands gain traction in the market when they are lauded by crowds. Companies may create some awareness about their product / service by spending millions on advertisements, but there is nothing like word-of-mouth publicity. As positive reviews spread far and wide, everyone wants a slice of the cake. Not all word-of-mouth is positive and whenever brands or individuals finds themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, the reputational and financial damage of such an event can be disastrous.

Crowd and Solitude

Travel is a good way to get away from the crowds. The COVID-19 pandemic derailed travel plans for millions. Leisure travel to peaceful locations is a big hit among city dwellers. In the world of internet and multiple transport options, no place remains out of reach for the crowds. Sooner than later, every tourist destination registers a healthy footfall and starts losing its charm. Each one of us is part of the crowd, but some ‘me time’ is therapeutic. On the other hand, some people like going to crowded places and feel the energy and chaos of life. It’s a classic case of craving for what an individual does not have. Interaction with fellow human beings is important for mental and emotional well-being; how much is too much is a personal call.

Crowd and Human Evolution

Being part of the crowd has been crucial for human evolution. Some of our ancestors had the brain, while others had brawn. When muscle and intellect came together, humans built weapons, ploughed fields, conquered predators and found cures to diseases. None of this would have been possible by individuals. Lately, the pursuit of power and prosperity has made us look inward. The misery on Earth will multiply exponentially if the energy and efficiency of crowd is not applied for common good.

The crowd is not an evil force or a collection of misguided people, but those who harness people for myopic acts of self-glorification must be identified and dealt unsympathetically. The opportunities and possibilities of a well-intentioned people’s movement are endless. Find a problem, evaluate possible courses of action and engage with the infinite potential of crowd. Negativity is everywhere, let us find positive solutions as one species. “May the Force be with you.”

bottom of page