// To Catch A “Catfish”er //
A study done by S. Hong, E. Tandoc, etc. named “The Real You? The Role of Visual Cues and Comment Congruence in Perceptions of Social Attractiveness from Facebook Profiles” that was published in the journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking sampled 104 profiles and designed an experiment that tested the congruence of self-presentation versus other-generated comments on your Facebook profile. The study found that it is much harder to manipulate social cues by others on your own profile page. What they mean is that you can’t control how someone else interacts with you (or your profile) in regards to what type of comments they leave, what pictures they like. These other-generated comments are a factor that can cause people to judge your page not only by what you post but how others post or interact with you as well.
If you’ve been connected to the tv and social media in the past couple months, I am sure you are familiar with the term “Catfish” (Wikipedia catfish tv show link) made popular by Nev Schulman’s unfortunate encounter with who he thought was his Facebook lover but was actually a 40 year old’s fake profile. This has been a lot of heat about Facebook profiles and whether we should rely on peoples’ appearance and personality on it as an accurate representation of their “real” identity.
Since we have full control of what is posted on our Facebook profiles, it is only human nature to try to spotlight the positives and attractive sides of our lives. Rarely do you see a profile picture of someone having a rough day. But, like the study shows, how others interact on your profile also reflects your “real identity” and can be a way to determine how accurate the attractiveness and personality of each profile really is. If the comments by others aren’t congruent to the attractiveness level of the profile picture, they relate this to being a red flag for a misleading profile.
I would find it interesting to see what social ques are present when someone like me (who has has their facebook wall disabled) is analyzed. I see Facebook as a place where even though I have a public profile, my purpose is more for the messaging and to keep in contact with family in Brasil rather than to post and highlight what is going on in my life to others. I haven’t posted a Facebook status in a very long time though I do have my relationship status posted since my boyfriend does use Facebook a lot more often than me and posts there daily, I did it for him. What would that say about me? Would it be flagged as misleading since I have disabled others the ability to interact with me publicly or does this make me a more reserved person?