Red Bull jump makes people stop, stare and tweet
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 00:10
Imagine skydiving from over 24 miles up in the sky. It’s a little terrifying, right? Now imagine doing it with more than 8 million people watching it live on YouTube and the fear increases. Those 8 million people could witness a slight error that leads to a unplanned landing, a landing where your body crashes into the ground after a slight malfunction and leaves you dead.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to perform this death-defying stunt in front of such a large audience, but Felix Baumgartner did. Luckily for him, the landing went as planned and he stuck it with two feet on the ground.
Baumgartner traveled up into the air over 128,000 feet and captured four world records while doing so. He performed the highest jump in history jumping 128,100 feet. He hit the maximum velocity ever hit without a jump chute at 373 meters traveled per second, or 833.9 miles per hour, which broke the sound barrier and made him faster than the speed of sound. He also reached the highest into the sky in a capsule. All of these became facts according to a press conference held Sunday afternoon after his successful landing.
Not only did this event set a record for highest safely-completed jump in history, it was one of the most witnessed, tweeted about, posted about and all-around discussed events. Not only did the man make history by getting those records, but he also touched the world while doing it. My Facebook timeline had over 20 statuses about this stunt. When he jumped, we all held our breaths together. Soon, my Facebook feed was filled with statuses all saying the same thing, “Holy s***, he actually jumped.”
Eight million people bonded over social media networks by tweeting at each other, commenting on statuses and reacting to the same thing. Most people were probably like myself, watching it on their laptops alone and only gaging others reactions through social media.
Not only did Baumgartner break records for how high he jumped from and how quickly he descended, but he also received the most concurrent views on a live streaming event with more than 8 million viewers. Baumgartner said he had
been planning the event since 2005 and started taking test jumps in 2009, according to The Huffington Post.
The event was entitled “Red Bull Stratos” because the energy drink company bought the sponsorship rights, playing right along with their famous motto, “Red Bull gives you wings.” In addition to Red Bull, Baumgartner has nine other sponsors according, to the mission’s website.
Baumgartner and Red Bull turned a mission of collecting scientific data into something for which the world to be enraptured. They engaged the world by creating Twitter hashtags and a Facebook page. They made certain that the world was watching and when they knew the world was, they took advantage of it.
Once again, imagine yourself looking down at the world more than 24 miles below you. Imagine yourself in Baumgartner’s shoes, knowing that what you planned with Red Bull was to make the world watch. Eight million people are watching. You take a deep breath and then jump, plummeting to what could be your doom. You’re in the air for four minutes and twenty seconds of free falling without opening your parachute and you’re spinning around, barely able to hold control. Once you pull your chute and land safely on the ground, you can heave a sigh of relief. Eight million people just watched you do something they will probably to never do in their lifetimes. But they loved watching you do it and held their breaths with you.
He had to have known that what he was doing was going to create an impact and the spread of that impact through social media achieved at least one of the team’s missions. It made the world interested in science, if just for five minutes as he dove to the ground. It made the world watch. It made the world gasp.
Addie Smith is a sophomore journalism and political science major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.