More Than Friends: Popularity on Facebook and its Role in Impression Formation


  • Accepted by previous editor Maria Bakardjieva


Social networking sites such as Facebook are becoming increasingly popular and important but it remains unclear which aspects of profiles convey information used to form impressions. This study expands on research investigating the role of popularity online and its impact on perceptions of targets' personality and appearance. Facebook profile owners' popularity was manipulated via number of friends and photos, and type of wall activity. Participants were 102 undergraduates who viewed 4 Facebook profiles (a popular and unpopular male and female) and judged the individuals represented by each. Popular targets were perceived to be more socially and physically attractive, extroverted and approachable than unpopular targets. Findings mirror offline effects and provide clues as to how profiles are examined and information extracted.