New Scientist reports this week on a study which looked for a correlation between how “friendly” somebody was percieved to be and how “friendly” their Facebook profiles page appeared to be.
University students considered likeable by people that met them in real life have been found to make a similar impression on people who view their Facebook profiles.
“People who were expressive in tone of voice and facial expression were also socially expressive on Facebook. They posted a lot of pictures, they posted photo albums, they seemed to have a lot of conversations with people,” says Max Weisbuch, a psychologist at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts who led the study.
I suppose it’s interesting to quantify, but not particularly surprising. People don’t make things up on their Facebook profile because their network is full of people they know well.
It would be interesting to see whether the same relationship could be seen from somebody’s tweets or their Myspace profiles. I suspect that the relationship is stronger for Facebook because it’s based around keeping in touch with people you know – as other social networks have more of an emphasis on meeting new people, people may be more tempted to portray “idealised” versions of themselves.