The more Facebook friends you have, the more attractive you’ll seem, says a new study, soon-to-be-published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Obviously — hot people have lots of friends. Have we learned nothing from movies about high school?
Researchers had 102 undergrads evaluate the cuteness of various scientifically engineered profiles. They gathered the data from real profiles, but scrambled it, generating a mass of fake Facebook profiles. The profile pictures, though, were controlled for “objective” attractiveness — each profile was paired with four images: a very scientifically attractive person, a relatively scientifically attractive person, an okay scientifically attractive person, and a not-so-scientifically attractive person. Scientists also assigned set numbers of “friends” to each fake person: “popular” people got 330-340 friends, while “unpopular” people got 90-99. Then they asked the test subjects to rate how attractive they found each profile.
And the results, the researchers say, were definitive: the more friends you have, the hotter you are, or at least, the hotter you are in the eyes of 102 undergraduates. Which makes sense to the researchers: people figure out how to feel about you based on tiny social cues in real life, they say — why wouldn’t they do the same on social media?
But also, 340 is not that many Facebook friends? Are researchers aware of this? Accordingly, it’s not totally clear what the study means. Is a person with 1,448 Facebook friends super, super hot? Or is the issue more that having 42 friends makes you look bad (I personally think it makes you look discriminating, but I am not 102 undergraduates). Either way, though, it’s perversely heartening — boosting your face is hard. Boosting your Facebook numbers is easy.