Bridge Jumping has
been around for hundreds of years. It first took place in
1664 off the Stari Most bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and
NOT with a bungee cord attached. Every year on May 1,
Oxford scholars gather on the Magellan Bridge to jump into
the Cheerful River.
Psychology of Bridge Jumping
Kids face literally splits in half after diving goes ... yes crappy cell cam but you can still see his face split and doctors helping him out .... why didn't he just move a few yards down the bridge where there
Long answer: The social proof principle.
Over the past 2 years of really looking at 2 things: human psychology and Internet Marketing, social proof has been at the height of both. From the positive aspects to the highly sketchy techniques. And Ive seen both, used both and tested both in many marketing campaigns. In this 3 part series I am going to look at 3 aspects of social proof and do my best to explain why the psychology of your parents teachings isnt half bad (or at least not wrong).
Lets begin and start to get twisted into some psychology
What Is Social Proof?
After going through Mass Control, I started to learn more about social proof and was drawn to the book Persuasion: The Psychology of Influence by Robert Cialdini. The book is the most dry, boring read on the planet, but if instead of reading it, you study it, takes notes and apply what he is saying, it may be the most effective book on selling and marketing ever written.
Cialdinis Social Proof
This book was written 1984 at a time before high pressure sales letters and marketing videos that dont have play controls on them (beyond irritating), and before the Internet, but not before Direct Response Marketing made people uber-rich. But it does factor in that people are highly influenced by the actions of others.
He starts by talking about canned laughter, possibly best described as the sign in the studio audience that Jay Leno has light up whenever he snaps off another bad joke and needs a quick laugh from the studio audience to make said joke appear to be funny to the audience watching at home
The thing that Cialdidni points out that is simply amazing to the marketing eye is that even though people have told tv studios how much they hate canned laughter, it still works. It still causes those same people that know it is fake laughter to chuckle, smile or laugh. Kinda like how we know reality shows are not reality, but we relate and obsess to them anyway.
Here is Cialdinis definition of social proof:
One means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.
So using Cialdinis concept, if our friends jump off this mythical bridge, we see it as an acceptable behavior. If others are speeding on the highway, then hell, Im going to speed on the highway. And if you have some crappy, worthless testimonials on your site from the same people that leave testimonials on every site, then I am going to yet again buy another info product I dont need and just like everyone else, not read it/watch it/take action!
We sure do like to conform to the behaviors around us.
If you are downtown with a group of friends, passing some bars looking for a drink, are you going to go into the bar that is empty with the promoters outside begging you to come in and get a free fruity shot of Juicy Juice, or the one with the fresh music and the people that are like you?
Do you want to be the only fan at a concert, or do you want to be in a sea of other fanatical people?
Non Conformists / Lifestyle Designers / Internet Cool Kids
Two years ago it was cool to be a nonconformist, or a rebel or a 9-5 hater. Now its the norm. People expect it.
Rebel against the system, yo. I hear people screaming it all the time. That part is easy and the part that has social proof written all over it.
Its easy to start a blog and start talking like everyone else. The topics, the comments, the way to grow your audience, the way to build subscribers, or a tribe, or a community, use buzz words, whatever.
The element here is that we all wanted to be like the guy the Internet Lifestyle promises to be - on the beach, maxing and relaxing, checking emails for sales and talking to our VA that runs our million dollar empire from a hut in an impoverished country that we feel awesome about paying her $5/hr.
And we all buy into it. We all buy stuff from long sales letters, even if we hate them and we all fall subject to wanting to know what the secret to this internet lifestyle is. If there was only the 1 tactic I needed to know so that I can have a lifestyle like insert name of supposed cool dude here.
Anyway, its just social proof in action. Following a crowd.
But social proof can be used for good, and it can be used in sales situations where you want to infleunce others who:
But today, lets
leave off with some gut-checking: when have you followed the
crowd and done something, either consciounciously or
unconsciounsly and fallen victim to good old social proof
the Rush Worth the Risk?
"It's primarily just all about feeling a bit of freedom for that moment," explains another. But chasing that rush can be fatal. Nineteen-year-old Wade McCurdy died after taking a 65-foot plunge off a bridge. Another teen heard the wake-up call when she hit the water so hard, the blood vessels in her legs were instantly broken. And a third, a very disturbing video of a young man who's face literally splits in half.
Content Warning. Be forwarned. This is a very graphic video.
get new thrills with bridge jumping
Travel north on highway Y between St. Charles and Lincoln counties, and you'll find a small bridge over the Cuivre River. It's not a heavily trafficked route, only a few cars each day. But during the summer months, the bridge comes to life -- with foot traffic.
The spot is known among teens and young adults as a place to bridge jump.
Marti, 21, used to jump all the time, until her best friend died on a jump right behind her. She asked us not to show her face or use her last name.
Stories like Marti's don't seem to scare jumpers who've never had an accident. NewsChannel 5 cameras spent several days at this bridge shooting this group from a distance, to make sure our presence didn't encourage them. Afterwards, our news crew approached and identified itself. They continued jumping.
Some have had close calls before, like the time it was raining hard. But they said the adrenaline rush keeps them coming back.
When it comes to jumping, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said there is simply no safe cliff or bridge to do it from, and for two important reasons: people usually overestimate their swimming skills, and depth perception is almost always wrong when it comes to water.
But because of the geography of the bi-state, with the bluffs and the rivers, there's always a new place for jumpers to try to get that rush. It was a lesson that cost Marti her best friend last October.
Their spot: about 100 miles south of St. Louis, a small town called Old Appleton. The town's foot bridge runs over a popular swimming hole. Unseasonably warm weather wasn't enough to raise the water's temperature, which was just 34 degrees.
Next in the water was 32-year-old Chris Grindstaff. When Marti finally made it to shore, she saw Chris behind her, treading water. She went back on the bridge to get towels. She looked over the bridge, but could not find Chris.
Neighbors tried to help and police were called, and according to reports, the scene was "reclassified as a recovery mission." Grindstaff's body was pulled from the water a few hours later.
Marti acknowledges the thrill that comes with jumping, but says now the rush isn't worth the risks.
Most citations related
to bridge jumping are for trespassing or holding up traffic.
Water patrol officers said the area simply has too many
jumping spots to patrol them all.
It is traditional for
the young men of the town to leap from the bridge into the
Neretva. As the Neretva is very cold, this is a very risky
feat and only the most skilled and best trained divers will
attempt it. The practice dates back to the time the bridge
was built, but the first recorded instance of someone diving
off the bridge is from 1664. In 1968 a formal diving
competition was inaugurated and held every summer. The first
person to jump from the bridge since it was re-opened was
Enej Kelecija, a local who now resides in the United
Last week of July the
famous "Stari Most" bridge in Mostar (Bosnia Herzegovina)was
re-opened after its destruction during the Balkan war,
attracting international participation and recognition. At
Saturday, 31st of July this bridge was the location of the
traditional bridge jumping, which has been taking place in
this town for 438 consecutive years. At the "Ikari 2004", 75
participants from Mostar and all other states of former
Yugoslavia - including three veterans of more than 70 years
of age - jumped off the 22 meters bridge which had been
reconstructed just like the original. Ahead of 30.000
spectators the winner became one of the favourites Haris
Dzemat (29). For the first time in the history, three
professional cliff divers also jumped off the bridge (out of
competition). World Champion Orlando Duque from Colombia,
Australian Joe Zuber and Zvezdan Groscic from Serbia were
Leaping from a bridge at dawn has been the way for students at Oxford University to see in the summer for decades.
But when college officials outlawed the age-old May Day tradition amid safety fears, young scholars thought the game was up.
These enterprising young academics, however, found a way around the ban... by gingerly lowering themselves into the cold water for a risk-free paddle.
Double barriers and private security ensured there were no risky leaps from the Magdalen Bridge into Oxford's River Cherwell.
So determined not to let the ban ruin their fun, the daring team of five stripped down to their smalls before taking a dip from the river bank instead.
is NOT Bridge Jumping. This is Base
Bridge Day, held on
the third Saturday in October every year in Fayetteville,
West Virginia, is the largest extreme sports event and
largest gathering of BASE jumpers in the world. More than
450 BASE jumpers from 10+ countries and 40+ US states will
leap from the 876' tall New River Gorge bridge, hundreds of
rappellers will descend on fixed ropes, and up to 200,000
spectators are expected to attend this year's Bridge Day on
Saturday, October 15, 2011 from 9am-3pm EDT. BASE jumper
registration begins on July 1, 2011 at 2pm EDT via our web
store. For those with no parachuting experience, but a
desire to make a BASE jump at Bridge Day, please check out
our Tandem BASE Jumping information page.