When you are popular on Facebook, strangers think you’re attractive
From psychology, we’ve known for a while that people create near-instant impressions of people based upon all sorts of cues. Visual cues (like unkempt hair or clothing), auditory cues (like a high- or low-pitched voice), and even olfactory cues (what’s that smell!?!) all combine rapidly to create our initial impressions of a person.
Where things get interesting is when one set of these cues is eliminated. For example, if we’ve never met a person in a real life, do we form impressions of people when all we know about them is their Facebook profile? And if so, what do we learn from those profiles?
As it turns out, it can be quite a lot.
Graham G Scott has experimentally examined the impact of viewer gender, Facebook profile gender and number of Facebook friends on impression formation, finding that people with lots of friends appear more socially attractive, more physically attractive, more approachable, and more extroverted.
When viewing modified Facebook profiles (all with the same profile picture and an experimentally controlled number of friends), people rated profiles with lots of Facebook friends as more physically attractive, more socially attractive, more approachable, and more extroverted.
Since potential employers look at Facebook profiles these days, perhaps it’s time to hire some Facebook friends.