by Graham Pierrepoint
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, you name it. Despite the fact that we are sharing more of ourselves with the world than ever before, our social media profiles are still extraordinarily personal to us. There are many of us still not too sure what we should be sharing or exhibiting online – and while Facebook has long since encouraged us to document our lives, loves and everything in between, there are still some of us who like to exercise more than a little control over our social outpourings. This begs the question – would you let a complete stranger have control over your Facebook profile? How about just your profile image? Whether or not you said yes, an Australian study has found that we may be all the more better for it.
University researchers at UNSW Sydney asked a select group of Facebook users to choose up to twelve pictures of themselves from their profiles and to pick which ones they’d be likely to use as profile images, according to The Independent. The study, which has been published via Cognitive Research, then requested strangers rate the selection of twelve pictures on the grounds of competence, attractiveness and trust – and the results were quite telling.
It was found that strangers’ perceptiveness were generally different to participants on the grounds of trustworthiness and competence, which indicated that while we may well have a good idea which pictures of us make us look attractive, we do not necessarily have such a handle over which make us look like better people to be friends with. In fact, the study states that participants preferred photos of themselves considered to be ‘less favorable first impressions’ as opposed to those the strangers opted for.
The interesting study therefore suggests that finding the best look for ourselves is merely a case of asking a complete stranger – and while a more complete study would include those a user would find unflattering, the report concludes, the statistics at least show that we don’t always know the best way to be perceived no matter how certain we may be.
That being said – would you let someone pick your photo for you? Will this study open up an interesting new trend in social media for the future? Who’s to say – for now, at least, enjoy the control you have!