Your Profile Photos Are Only as Hot as Your Friends Say They Are

You'll always be pretty to your mom, though.

(Image: West McGowan)

A study conducted at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism seems to indicate that if friends say you’re hot in comments on a Facebook or Tumblr pic, others may agree.

Professor Kevin Wise and doctoral student Seoyeon Hong showed 100 students several photos of one person. They discovered something interesting about how people reacted to the images:

They found that photos with “social cues,” which are photos that show the subject’s personality, work better than static headshots. Positive comments from friends also made the photos more appealing to the students than those with negative remarks.

The survey is reassuring, because it seems to indicate people take in more than physical appearance when checking others out online. People develop an impression based as much on your pursuits and social ties as your looks. In her write-up about the study, Ms. Hong also included a good guide to best practices in dealing with noxious profile pests like “funny” cousins or friendly but still secretly bitter exes:

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.

That’s Ms. Hong’s measured way of saying that if your fourth grade boyfriend trolls your Facebook photos and teases you about your haircut, others will be more likely to agree that yeah, that’s a pretty ugly mullet.

Your Profile Photos Are Only as Hot as Your Friends Say They Are