In this day and age we like to say that we thrive on being ourselves and embracing our individuality, while this may be true in my social experiment I found that more often than not we tend to keep to ourselves and follow the social norms of day to day life. Social norms are behaviors and cues most everyone learns throughout their lives. These norms teach us what is and is not acceptable. To fully understand and analyze how norms serve to regulate behavior in our social world, I decided to breach a social norm of my own.
I chose to breach the social norm of clapping and cheering for people when they enter a room for no reason at all. I chose to breach this norm at Seven Springs Ski Resort in the main lodge. I breached this norm at all different hours of the day from nine o'clock in the morning until seven at night. Inside the main lodge families and friends sat at tables of four in open rooms with big windows that allowed you to watch the weather and slopes. It snowed steadily all day, the sky was overcast and it was about nine degrees outside. The people seemed to be either extremely annoyed by the weather conditions or pretty happy. Inside the main lodge different groups ate, rested, played cards or stood in a never dying line at a make-shift Starbucks kiosk. I witnessed people grow quickly aggravated with trying to walk in ski boots while others sat and laughed at their falls on the slopes and discussed the winter Olympics.
My friends that came with me to slopes that day never knew about my experiment until our day was over but I believe they did help my experiment in many ways. I tried clapping for strangers on my own a handful of times but only ever got other families and groups to join in when my own friends would join in. Sometimes I would start a slow building clap and holler out things like, "Congratulations! Happy Birthday!"from time to time would start the infamous chant, "USA! USA! USA!"and I have to admit this chant did catch on best. When only I would clap for people some families would merely poke their heads up and look for something important. Children often times would clap anyways not knowing why they were clapping or for who. Teenagers often would join along while middle aged strangers would catch on to my annoyance throughout the day and pay me back with deathly glares.
Carrying out the norm breaking by myself was a little more difficult at first because I wouldn't clap loud enough and the tables near me...