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Popularity On Facebook Makes People Think You're Attractive 116

RichDiesal writes "In an upcoming issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, researchers conducted an experiment on the impact of the number of Facebook friends a person has on impression formation. 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."
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Popularity On Facebook Makes People Think You're Attractive

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  • by CrankyFool ( 680025 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:08AM (#46394901)

    I'm a hiring manager at a tech company. We generally think that looking at a candidate's FB profile is a social faux pas. LInkedIn? Sure. Facebook? That's their business. I'm not friends with my direct reports on FB, I don't expect them to friend me, and whatever they do there is their business.

    Maybe it's time to find a better class of potential employers?

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:29AM (#46394955)

      Are you hiring?

    • Sales / Marketing / Management / PR (yes definitely doesn't hurt.) Tech / Engineering / Support / STEM / * pretty much any other job where your just a resource (probably wont matter)
    • They likely wouldn't find me on Facebook.

      (And if they did enjoy all the contest spam posts which are among the few things shared public.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When I recruit people, having a Facebook profile at all is typically a negative thing. Not enough to disqualify them for a position, but they better make up for it in some other way. If the person has no social media accounts traceable to them, then it's a huge plus.

      Stories like this make me think that nobody cares about security awareness. Now that even non-techies are aware that they are being spied on it is quite inexcusable for techies not to be security aware.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Translation: I don't always sit in on interviews, but when I do, I divert the conversation to irrelevant factors outside of work.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        When I recruit people, having a Facebook profile at all is typically a negative thing. Not enough to disqualify them for a position, but they better make up for it in some other way. If the person has no social media accounts traceable to them, then it's a huge plus.

        And yet, having a FB profile is generally required if you're security conscious, because you cannot control what your friends do otherwise. Don't want to be tagged? Well, unless you have a profile, you can't block it! Etc. etc. etc.

        So yes, I hav

      • Having accounts is not a security issue - is about what you post. In the same way a drug dealer will talk in code on a cell phone, just don't post things that you don't want the world to see. It's not as if Facebook monitors your every move.
    • Maybe sociality unacceptable, but sometimes it can be useful. LinkedIn does not give its users the ability to play weed farmer, or like 50 different pages to do with using illegal drugs, or liking to Lil Wayne.

      • Why in heavens' name would I care whether or not someone I'm going to hire is playing Weed Farmer or -- let's just cut to the heart of it -- even an illegal drug user?

        I've known enough people who've taken illegal drugs (pot, X, whatever) who were phenomenally good at their job that I fail to see how it's any relevant to me what they do in their off-hours. You could argue that there's a morality component (if I'm being honest I'm not crazy about hiring someone who beats their spouse non-consensually, for ex

        • Marijuana is an accepted illicit product in most IT departments. As long as you're not smoking out in your office or the server room, no one cares. :)

          I came to accept that years ago. I don't smoke, but I'd say >50% of those in IT do, either recreational or habitual. I toss that in my "short term memory, forget it after I find out", and just tabulate it in my running counter of "does/doesn't smoke pot".

    • When I've been hunting for potential employees, I hold off on even attempting to find their Facebook page until they're hired and we're friendly at work. Usually everything else says we'll be friends, and FB just confirms that we have similar interests. Or we have nothing in common, but we still socialize.

      One guy I hired, I didn't know he liked the zombie genre until after he was hired, and we friended each other, because we were getting on well. Then I left the company. We still talk about zombies.

  • by john_uy ( 187459 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:15AM (#46394913)

    It's so sad and pathetic that the metric being used by people is amount of Facebook "friends".

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:32AM (#46394965) Homepage

      Welcome to the real world.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:25AM (#46395063) Homepage

      Sad and pathetic is the proper way to explain anyone working in HR looking at Facebook profiles for hiring.

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        Yeah, and also anyone who describes it as "HR" instead of "personnel".

        Human Resources is stupid bizspeak that makes us sound like robots or something.

        • Human Resources is stupid bizspeak that makes us sound like robots or something.

          It's called "Human Capital Management" now. "Human Resources" sounded too socialist.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          At Comcast we called that department the Cattle Ranch.

      • You say that until you're working in HR and a few weeks after hiring someone you find your companies name in the paper "Local tech shop hires well known convicted murderer and local Nazi Party leader" and then links to his facebook page full of swastikas.

        I think it's one thing to do basic checks or glance at some info... and another to do "due diligence"

        The solution to this problem is to not use facebook or services like it if you don't want employers to judge you based on its contents.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          Yes, because that happens ALL THE TIME... Thank god for HR departments, they will save us!

    • It's so sad and pathetic that the metric being used by people is amount of "friends".

      FTFY. It likely has nothing at all to do with Facebook specifically.

      "Number of friends" is probably a very useful metric when it comes to determining how useful it would be to have someone as a friend.

      That we now can gauge this using a website instead of real-world interaction, and are living in apartments instead of mud huts, makes little difference.

      So, no, it's not "sad and pathetic" at all. It's an instict, and like all instincts it can be gamed.

    • On the contrary, I consider someone with 500 facebook friends and who is always online in facebook as superficial and without interests. If you have the time to spend 6 hours a day on facebook, I assume there's not much else going on in your life.

    • It's so sad and pathetic that the metric being used by people is amount of Facebook "friends".

      You mean as opposed to believing people are prettier and more interesting in real life because of all their 'real' "friends."?

    • That's for sure. But if you want them, may I suggest getting them the way I did? Volunteer to organize your next high school reunion. At least 90% of my 400 friends on facebook are former classmates "friended" because I was tracking them down to invite them to the reunion.

      Not bad for somebody with Asperger's Syndrome.

  • Or not. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cenan ( 1892902 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:24AM (#46394939)

    If you're using public FB data to determine if a prospective employee is a good fit, you're getting what you deserve: only idiots have a publicly accessible timeline. A properly managed FB profile will only give you a picture and if you're lucky an email address, something you could have gotten by just asking for it.

    On a side note, that "study" in the article hardly sounds robust.

    Six months later, the researchers got in touch with their guinea pigs’ employers to ask about their job performances. Unfortunately, of the over 500 guinea pigs, just 56 of the employers responded. So the sample is small, but the researchers found a strong correlation between those employers’ reviews and the employability predictions they had made based on folks’ profile pages.

    Congratulations, your ~10% response rate allows you to draw wildly speculative conclusions. The second study has similar problems, trying to insinuate a correlation between their performed IQ tests, FB profile data and eventual student transcripts. Bullshit.

    • Actually, a properly set up FB account tells a boss everything he should know. From the employee's perspective, of course.

      You try to spy on me, be prepared to see what you're supposed to see. I feel by no means obligated to tell you the truth, after all, you could have asked and I would have told you. You decided you wanted information from some third party about me, so don't come complaining to me when that information is false.

    • I have a publicly accessible timeline (you do know that privacy settings are per-post, right?), where I post things like inspirational quotes, and write about the value of hard work, and things that I believe a prospective employer might be interested in. I do post stuff as "friends-only" and designate some people as "acquaintances". In general, on or off the internet, I do not traffic in subjectivity. I have better things to do than pontificate about politics or the controversy du jour. Idle coffee shop ph

    • by Chemisor ( 97276 )

      Nobody uses a facebook profile to determine if a prospective employee is a good fit - they are instead looking to determine if the prospective employee is a bad fit. With so many candidates for every position, there is an increasing need to disqualify people, and facebook is an excellent place to find dirt on them. If a capital offence can be found in six lines written by the most honest of men, anyone with an active facebook profile is entirely worthless.

    • And let me guess, you are over 30?

      But either way there is a huge gender gap in the privacy issue (see Don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story []). A lot of young people just do not have anything to hide. Either they understand that anything written online is ultimately completely public, and censor accordingly, or they do not censor, and are OK with anyone and everyone knowing what they wrote. I have said some controversial things in my time online, but I have

  • by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:26AM (#46394949)
    Facebook is a stressful place to be. It encourages to care about all sorts of psychopathic bullshit like this. Who has most friends, who has most action-packed photos, who makes the wittiest status updates, who collects the Likes.
    • Well, if you're hiring for a social media Jon.... Sure, those are indicators of your possible performance.
      • by asylumx ( 881307 )

        Well, if you're hiring for a social media Jon

        Is this some kind of a play on words to indicate doing this makes you a whore looking for "jons"? If so, nice job. If it was just a typo, forget I said anything.

  • by korbulon ( 2792438 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:38AM (#46394981)

    That bastion of scientific progress and beacon of enlightenment.

    Trash "research" like this is one of the big reasons I had to leave academia. Shelves and shelves lined with tomes of pabulum. So much drivel, you wouldn't believe. And I'm not referring to abstruse areas of investigation, but rather all the ad-hoc, pseudoscientific articles and journals which pollute scientific libraries and are the inevitable answer to the prime commandment of academic life: "publish or perish.".

    • So what? There's a lot of drek out there, fortunately it's easy to ignore what you don't care about. Like if I were to go to a bookstore, 90% of the books would hold no interest to me, and I will likely ever read .1% of the books. That doesn't mean I give up on books.

      • Yeah but neither do these books ever get mentioned on the front page of Slashdot.

        I originally meant my rant to be a poke at Slashot, but instead got carried away by something else entirely (yet again). It's not that there's so much dross, it's that people sometimes thrust it in your face and present it as something of worth.

    • Trash "research" like this is one of the big reasons I had to leave academia...And I'm not referring to abstruse areas of investigation

      And I bet they even use abstruse words like "abstruse".

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's actually a quite decent journal. If you have concrete claims for your sarcastic remarks, please share them, but I am unaware of any evidence that the journal is not, largely, a good and honest scientific publication.

  • because i started an account on facebook about 5 years ago, looked around for a few minutes and realized what crap it really is and abandoned it. have not been back on there since, i dont even remember the username and password i had
  • Since, ya' know, more users = more $$$ for them. ;-)
  • by Holammer ( 1217422 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @09:07AM (#46395475)

    I have a *very* rare name/surname combination, so I'm easy to find, or at least I would be if I had a Facebook account, which I don't.
    So I've had two employers ask me why they can't find anything about me on Google/Facebook, one of them even asked me straight up if I had served time in prison. So I'm not surprised by the findings, at all.

    • As far as I know only one other person shares my name. Neither of us have a social media presence and I've been asked the prison time question too.

  • "perhaps it's time to hire some Facebook friends."

    I hope that companies who use Facebook profiles as part of their candidate selection process would disclose this practice to the general public. That information would have a substantial negative impact on my view of any company I would consider applying to. Any time an organization takes its eye of the ball by hiring based on Facebook crap instead of individual skill and talent, it's hard to imagine that they'll be around long or won't suffer severe lay
    • Maybe a new service industry will arise: adjust your public-accessible timeline for a fee. Keeping all the stuff that portrays you as a hard-working person who values work more than anything in his life with quotes like: "there's no greater satisfaction than meeting the deadline" etc.

      • Or maybe just set up a fake profile that shows you in a positive light. No friends, no real information, just a dumb virtual business card to fool the foolish. I wish I were joking.
  • Cheerleader effect []. If well you don't see your friends in a photo with you, the basic principle is similar, we find attractive any mean to take part of a community.
  • Why is this even a surprise? When you look at celebrities all over, I mean really look at them, you will quickly realize they aren't terribly different from all the people around you and frankly, some are exceptionally ugly. So what makes them special? Marketing.

    And the fact that people fall for it so often no longer amazes me. People are mostly sheeple and will even angrily and violently defend their sheeple ways. (Observe as I get modded troll)

    The psychology behind all of this is well documented. Th

  • A person who is popular is perceived to be smart, successful and attractive.

    It's like popularity is a "way around" the old fashioned way of being smart, successful and attractive, which actually required you to be smart, successful and attractive.

    It's no surprise then that our leaders are morons, our experts are fools and our culture is hogwash. But it's popular, so we pretend not to notice the obvious.

  • Like a cosmic entity that increases in mass, the more it gathers, the more it attracts.

  • You can't like him, I Liked him first.
    Nobody else Liked him, so I won't Like him either.
  • by SuperTechnoNerd ( 964528 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:01AM (#46396277)
    What's all this facebook stuff I keep hearing about?
    I stick my face in books all the time..
    I love to read..
  • I like this research area's my research area...but something about this whole thing bothered me...

    from a database of photographs with known attractiveness to a photo of moderate attractiveness

    ...right...a 'database of photos with known attractiveness' is is that? a group of poor souls who's mugshots from a study in 2005 have been recycled over and over, rated by bored broke undergrads

    the thing that kills me though, is the number of 'friends' they assigned in the various iterations


  • by Creepy ( 93888 )

    My wife has thousands of friends, I only have hundreds... I guess I know who the attractive one is now.

    Funny thing is, the real reason I limit my friends is because I can't keep up with Facebook as it is, and my wife spends about 4 hours a day on it. If I included just first cousins and their kids alone I'd have over 200 due to the very prolific Catholics on my dad's side (my aunt knocked out 13 and her kids are trying to catch up).

  • Tom thinks I'm hot.

  • What's the consensus of the people that don't use facebook?
  • You need frienditutes! []

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin