March 20, 2012

Go Inspire Go's Photo Flash Mob Walk

What do you get when you gather social do-gooders, add creativity + community + conversation with a splash of social media? A Go Inspire Go (GIG) Photo Walk Flash Mob of course!

Photo: Akina Chargualaf

Yesterday afternoon’s event was a super fun, innovative way to take our cause offline (sort of off line) and onto the streets of San Francisco to unite current GIGSTERS and meet new ones.

It was also the launch of GIG's global community challenge: "What's your GIG?" We want you to share your inspiring stories, videos and stories with us. The goal: to raise visibility about the inspiring images and stories in your life -- and magnify them on our platform for the world to see.

Photo: Gaurav Mittal

GIG’s Elina Fahlgren used Meetup to organize the event. We started in the hip, historic and colorfully diverse Mission District, where after six days of rain, the dark clouds parted and the whole day was as warm and sunny as the new GIG connections.

At 1 o’clock in the afternoon, the empty sidewalk started to fill up quickly with people from all walks of life – a cornucopia of creative participants, ready to meet, greet and hit the streets to take some pictures and spread GIG’s message.

Photo: Elina Fahlgren

“We noticed people coming along -- all kinds of people, young, old, all different ethnicites. Just got us curious.” Linnea Larson said enthusiastically about our growing crowd of 39+ people. So naturally, we invited her and her plus one to join us.

Thanks to GIG’s volunteer shooter and editor Barbara Grandvoinet for capturing this moment in video:

Our event guidelines were organic - snap pictures and shoot video using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tout. Here was my video Tout-out:

We zig-zagged about 20 blocks, stopping to play paparazzi on the Mission District’s vibrant urban canvas: murals, superhero cartoons spotted, shared and liked.

Photo: Bill Huggett

It was great to learn more about new friends like Siddhartha Joshi and Jagdish Chaturvedi, who are currently at Stanford doing a fellowship on Biodesign, looking at designing medical devices which could provide affordable healthcare solutions to the masses. Siddhartha is also an avid photographer and blogger. Jagdish does stand up comedy and theatre as well. WOW. The stories are as endless as the pictures that are trickling in – fun to see inspiration through their lens. Check out our collective photo album!

Some familiar faces also showed us some love during our walk. Dr. Ron Holt, a San Francisco psychaitrist who uses his power to inspire equality joined us.

Photo: Bill Huggett

Also, Donald Cooper from Hands on Bay Area snapped some photos, walked and shared what he learned from this sidewalk sojourn. “I think this is great! There are so many things around us that are images that inspire us… if we keep our eyes open, we could catch them and they would really feed our soul.” Check out GIG's HOBA video.

GIGSTERS who couldn't join us gave us some virtual love.

Photo: Fiona Pattison - Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK

Photo: Lynn Billett - Ft. Myers, Florida

We ended in Dolores Park and snapped this photo. Yes we were jumping for joy!

Photo: Gaurav Mittal

This fun walk - a fascinating experiment in social media, social good and socialization - taught me a lot:

1. Being present. Me and many of my team members have worked and played throughout the Mission District for 10+ years. This time was different, as I noticed things that I would overlook because I wasn’t present and didn’t see things like the cartoon mural, the powerful images on The Women's Building and the architecture both new and old.

2. This was an interesting experience in using an online/social media medium to connect in person since our GIG team works remotely online most of the time. It was fantastic to meet new supporters and ultimately spread the GIG message and share inspiration. We also have some new volunteers who were inspired to “use their power to help others”!

3. Much like the marvelous sights and sounds we experienced along the walk, we met such interesting people from all walks of life - from students to mediators to non-profiteers - and started new friendships.

What are you doing to create inspiring memories for yourself and others?

Photo: Marcia Silva

What can you do?

1. Engage: What’s your GIG Challenge (We want you to share your inspiring pics, videos and story ideas.

2. Share your inspiring pics with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and videos on Tout! Got a story idea? Email:

3. Share your pictures with photographer Kat Sloma’s Photo Heart Connection Project

Inspiration is all around us. We just have to pay be present.

*Special Thanks to my amazing board members and volunteers who used their power to pull this event together.




  1. What a creatively fantastic and fun time! I love all the photos as well as people online that helped share their creative "lens" virtually.

  2. The GIG Photo Walk was one of the best times I've had in SF in a long time. The people that surrounded us, and the inspiration that we took in was amazing! Like Toan mentioned, I have spent time in the Mission district before, but not like this. It was a very refreshing Sunday and I can't wait to do it again in a different location!

  3. I couldn't be there but I was still inspired by the wonderful energy and support that surrounded the event. Appreciating the world around us, and what we have for free is an amazing gift to all of us. So happy to have shared my gig walk here in the uk and inspirational Photo with you Toan Lam and Go inspire Go & Kat Sloma We are Blessed! : )

  4. Thank you everyone for making this a success. Fiona & Kat we felt your warmth and love! GIG team and everyone who joined us, you guys rock!


  5. Fantastic event; incredibly glad I attended and looking forward to the next.

  6. Hey Toan, great to see the post :) I was surely looking forward to it...and thanks for mentioning me and my blog :)

    Of course, there is lots of work to be done to take this forward, and we all need to contribute in our small ways to make the change. Looking forward to catching up with you again and doing something even bigger!

  7. Jeff and I had such a wonderful time. We use to live in that area and it was nice to return to it with such an inspiring goal - to appreciate and capture the beauty around us, from murals to human connections. When's the next one? ;)

  8. Sid, thanks for the nifty snapshots and I am soo looking forward brainstorming ways you can get involved.

    Marcia, let's make this a regular event in different neighborhoods! Stay tuned...