First impressions on social network sites: Impact of self-disclosure breadth on attraction
This paper reports the results of two experiments that investigate the relationship between the quantity of information disclosed on an SNS profile and profile viewers' first impressions of the profile owner. Both experiments utilized a 2 (low quantity of information vs. high quantity of information) by 2 (male vs. female profile) design. In the first experiment (n = 1059), the respondents were randomly assigned to the experimental conditions. The results showed that profile viewers were more favorable to profiles of women. Also, both for female and male SNS profiles, higher quantity of information led to more positive ratings of the profile owner. The second experiment expanded the findings from the first experiment in two ways. First, in the second experiment (n = 320), rather than being randomly assigned to the profile gender condition, the respondents could pick the gender of the profile they would review. Second, informed by previous research on face to face interactions which indicate that quantity of self-disclosure can increase interpersonal attraction by reducing the level of uncertainty about relational outcomes, we tested whether uncertainty reduction mediated the relationship between quantity of information presented in an SNS profile and interpersonal attraction. Female profiles were selected more often than male profiles by both female and male respondents; however, there was no difference in interpersonal attraction ratings that male and female profiles received. Higher quantity of information presented in an SNS profile had a significant impact on interpersonal attraction. The results from the second experiment also indicated that while quantity of information positively influenced profile viewers' perceptions regarding the agreeableness of the profile owner, it did not have an impact on viewers' perceptions regarding the dependability of the profile owner. As predicted, the impact of quantity of information on interpersonal attraction was mediated by a reduction in uncertainty levels.
SourceProceedings of the 4th European Conference on Social Media
KeywordsGender-Uncertainty Reduction Theory
Social Network Sites