A new research study finds that individuals need to pay attention to the pictures and comments placed on their Facebook profile.
Researchers discovered that comments left by users on Facebook profile pictures strongly affect the level of perceived attractiveness of the profile owner physically, socially, and professionally.
Experts say that globally, more than 850 million people use Facebook to communicate. Moreover, employers are now using Facebook to screen job applicants with visual perception and posted comments playing a large part in either obtaining an interview or securing a job.
In the study, researchers found the inclusion of social cues and additional information to profile photos promoted a positive impression. Furthermore, affirmative comments posted to the pictures provided a socially and physically attractive perception to prospective employers as opposed to users who have fewer social cues and negative comments on their profile photos.
“People tend to rely more on other-generated information than self-generated information when forming impressions,” said lead researcher and doctoral student Seoyeon Hong.
“In other words, opinions of other people matter more than the target person’s own self-presentation. Thus, for social networking users concerned about forming a desired impression, being aware of other-generated information about oneself is paramount in the goal of achieving a positive self-presentation.”
For the study, Hong showed different Facebook profile pictures of the same person to more than a hundred college students. Each picture varied in social cues and the quality of comments.
Profile photos with social cues are photos of the profile user that include additional information about who they are and what they do. For example, a photo with a social cue of an athlete would be a picture of that person playing sports.
Likewise, a social cue for a musician may be a photo of that person playing an instrument. Hong and co-author Kevin Wise, Ph.D., found that people with Facebook profile photos that include social cues were perceived to be more physically and socially attractive than people with profile photos that were plain headshots.
“These findings show how important it is to present yourself strategically on Facebook,” Hong said.
“If you want to be perceived positively by people who view your profile page, including friends and potential employers, it is important to include profile pictures with positive social cues.
“No matter what the profile owner does to tailor their Facebook page, comments left on their page from other users should be monitored as well. Positive comments are very helpful, but negative remarks can be very damaging, even if they are silly or sarcastic.
“To maximize the effects of positive self-presentation on Facebook, I would recommend using profile pictures with extensive social cues to show who and what you are in a positive way while also keeping track of what others say about you.”
Source: University of Missouri