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Impact of Information Disclosure on the Attractiveness of a Social Network Site Profile


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Read overview of project and summary of results

Principal Investigator(s):

Lemi Baruh
Koç University
Email:lbaruh@ku.edu.tr
Home page:http://lemibaruh.wordpress.com/

Christophe Bisson
Kadir Has University
Email:cbisson@khas.edu.tr
Home page:http://activity.khas.edu.tr/cv_program/cv.aspx?ID=1084&lang=en

Yoram Chisik
University of Madeira
Email:ychisik@m-iti.org
Home page:http://www.m-iti.org/people/yoram

Basak Senova
Freelance Curator and Designer
Email: N/A
Home page:http://www.basaksenova.com/

Sample size:1000
Field period: 2/14/2010-8/23/2010


Abstract:

With growing academic interest in social network site (SNS) profiles, an area of research that has drawn particular attention has been the use of SNS profiles as a venue for communication of one's identity. However, little attention has been paid to the impact of one of the most fundamental elements of social network profiles—textual self-disclosure of information—on perceived attractiveness of the profile owners. This project aims to fill a part of this void by investigating the influence of quantity of information displayed in an SNS profile on the perceived attractiveness of the profile owner. Analyses suggest that although amount of information was positively associated with attractiveness ratings of a profile, it was not related to whether profile viewers would pursue further interactions with the profile owner (i.e. adding to SNS friends list, communicating online, meeting face-to-face, sharing private information). Significant interactions between profile gender and amount of information were observed: whereas for male profiles more information elicited more positive evaluations and higher intentions to engage in further interactions, for female profiles more information did not influence attractiveness ratings and had an adverse impact on profile viewers' intentions to engage in further social interactions with profile owners. Finally, there was a three-way interaction between amount of information, profile gender, and profile viewer voyeurism: for male profiles, more information elicited a more positive evaluations among low voyeurs than among high voyeurs, and for female profiles, more information elicited a slightly more positive evaluation among high voyeurs than among low voyeurs.

Hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1: Social network profiles containing more information will elicit more positive attraction ratings from viewers.
Research Question 1: How does gender of the profile moderate the relationship between amount of information disclosed in a profile and the attractiveness rating of the profile owner?
Hypothesis 2: Individuals with a higher voyeurism will be more likely to positively evaluate profile owners that reveal more information.
Research Question 2: How do amount of information revealed in a profile, profile gender and profile viewers' voyeurism interact with each other in predicting perceived attractiveness ratings of a profile?
Hypothesis 3: A profile containing more information will increase viewers' intentions to engage in reciprocal information sharing and engage in online and offline social interactions with the profile owner.
Research Question 3: How does profile gender moderate the relationship between amount of information disclosed in a profile and a profile viewers' intention to engage in in reciprocal information sharing and engage in online and offline social interactions with the profile owner?
Research Question 4: How does profile viewers' voyeurism moderate the relationship between amount of information disclosed in a profile and a profile viewers' intention to engage in further social interactions with the profile owner?

Experimental Manipulation:

In order to test the relationship between amount of textual information disclosed on a social network site profile and the dependent variables, the study employed a 2 (low amount of information vs. high amount of information) X 2 (male profile vs. female profile) replicated design: four different profile versions (replications) were created for each condition, resulting in a total of 16 profiles.
The experimental condition was created as follows: First, a list of 78 personal information categories (e.g. spouse name, profession, favorite food, occupation, allergies) was compiled by reviewing close to 300 social network site profiles. Second, for each of the information categories, a fictional answer was created to produce a profile information item. Third, 20 information items were randomly selected to create a low amount of information condition, which would also act as the kernel profile out of which the remaining conditions were created. The high amount of information condition was created by adding 10 additional randomly selected information items to the kernel profile.
Profile gender was manipulated via the use of a blue vs. pink background, a male vs. female avatar as a profile picture, and by changing the content of gender specific information items such as the name of the spouse. The whole process was repeated to create profile four replications.

Key Dependent Variables:

Next, thinking about the person whose profile you just viewed, how much do you think the person can be described by the following characteristics?

Friendly
Honest
Arrogant
Likeable
Attractive
Similar to me
Extroverted
Selfish

Thinking about the person whose profile you just reviewed, how much personal information about yourself would you be willing to share with this person? (None/A Little Bit/Some//Quite A Bit/A Great Deal

Next, thinking about the person whose profile you just viewed, how likely would you be to (7-point scale):

Communicate online with this person?
Arrange a face-to-face meeting with this person?
Add this person as a friend in your social network profile such as Facebook, Orkut.com or MySpace?
Share details of your personal life with this person?

Summary of Findings:

H1. The first hypothesis that higher information disclosed in a profile would lead to higher attraction was supported: there was a significant main-effect for attraction scale (positive items), MeanLowinfo 2.59 (.75); MeanHighinfo 2.71 (.70); F (1, 1004) = 3.801, p < .01.
RQ1. The interaction (Figure 1) was such that for female profiles, higher information disclosure did not have an impact on attraction, whereas for male profiles, higher amount of information lead to higher attraction [MeanHighInfo = 2.64(.68)] than lower amount of information [MeanLowInfo = 2.4 (.74)]; F (1, 1004) =5.892, p < .05.

H2. The interaction between profile viewer voyeurism and amount of information was not a significant predictor of attractiveness ratings of profiles.
RQ2. For female profiles (Figure 2), the attractiveness rating provided for profiles that contained more information was higher among respondents with higher voyeurism [MeanHighInfo = 2.84 (.68)] than among those with lower voyeurism [MeanLowInfo = 2.78 (.67)]. For male profiles (Figure 3), whereas among high voyeurs, amount of information hardly had any impact on profile attractiveness ratings, among low voyeurs there was a positive association between amount of information and attractiveness ratings [MeanLowinfo = 2.29 (.74); MeanHighInfo = 2.72(.62)]; F (1, 1004) =4.269, p < .01.

H3. Amount of information in a profile had no significant impact on profile viewers' intentions to engage in reciprocal information sharing or pursue further interactions with the profile owner.
RQ3. For profile viewers' intention to engage in reciprocal information sharing and pursue further interactions there was a significant omnibus effect of the two-way interaction between amount of information and gender of the displayed profile, Wilks Λ = .99, F (4, 1001) = 3.311, p < .05; partial η2 = .013. The impact of more information on intentions to communicate online, add to SNS list, arrange meeting offline, and share personal information was positive for male profiles but negative for female profiles (Figures 4-7).
RQ4. The interaction between profile viewers' voyeurism and amount of information on a profile had no significant impact on viewers' intention to share personal information or engage in further interactions with the profile owner.

References:

Voyeuristic Curiosity, Gendered Expectations, and the Impact of Disclosure Amount on Interpersonal Attraction in Social Network Sites, Lemi Baruh, Yoram Chisik, Christophe Bisson, Başak Şenova (Manuscript submitted for review for journal publication)

When Less is More: Disclosure of Personal Information in Social Network Sites and its Impact on Profile Viewers' Intentions to Socialize with the Profile Owner. Lemi Baruh, Yoram Chisik, Christophe Bisson, Başak Şenova (Submitted for Conference Presentation)


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