Pokeplayers undaunted
Kim Denise

Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter, he must be scratching his head in his grave. Dr. Trotter, in 1916, published The Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War — one of the first analyses of herd behavior in humans. It’s considered a seminal work in the field of group dynamics.

To a LOT of people, that’s what we see here. Herd behavior. They see Pokemon Go trainers wandering around, behaving collectively without any centralized direction. They see a mindless herd comprised of individuals who have willfully surrendered their individuality. I suspect even Dr. Trotter, dead as he is, would be confused — because it looks on the surface like herd behavior.

But it’s not. No, something else is taking place here. Something very distinctly unherdlike. Pokemon Go isn’t about becoming part of a herd. It’s about actively and deliberately dipping yourself temporarily into the waters of a shared innocent fantasy. It’s about opening yourself up to surprise. It’s about allowing a certain level of slippery into the concrete, mundane world.

Is Pokemon Go silly? Oh yes. Oh, it’s absolutely silly. And that’s how you (and the dead Dr. Trotter) can know it’s not herd behavior. Herds can be stupid, but they can never ever know the joy of being silly.

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