Background of the study
internet is taking over the society nowadays. Everyone loves to surf the
internet and seeking it as basic needs in their lives. People uses social media
to share their life and also share photos or stories. According
to Greitemeyer and Kunz (2013), Facebook which is the most popular social media has 1 billion active users, with an
average of 552 million users logging into the social media per day. People uses Facebook to create a
personal profile and posting photos or statuses to share their lifestyle,
knowledge or emotions. Besides Facebook, there are also popular social media
platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and more which also could
allow people to share their content.
Social media is a popular venue for both self-presentation and
communication. According to Seidman and Miller (2013), how
people view the information in a social media profile, and how their attention
to the profiles are affected by physical attractiveness and appearances of the
profile owner. Specific details of a profile can affect the
impressions of the profile owner, including description written or videos and
photographs that posted in the profile. According to Greitemeyer
and Kunz (2013), social media is used to view the effects of
interpersonal attraction from their physical attractiveness or profile names.
The profile names and physical attractiveness are shown to be associated with
how people judge and behave towards the profile owner. This is why people are putting
effort in arranging their social media profile and post pretty photos or
better-looking content to create good impression of themselves.
people would try a lot of ways just to gain more attention on social media
including taking prettier pictures of themselves or create interesting content
to attract attention. Social media is getting more popular and it could reach
to a lot of people. For now, it could be obviously seen that people with better
physical appearance including body shape or pretty faces gain more fame and
attention on social media. Social media content creators also used people with
a sexy appearance as thumbnail to attract audience on their content. In fact,
Seidman and Miller (2013) suggested that physical appearance may be the most
important element of first impressions. Therefore, the physical attractiveness
of the profile owner should play a significant role in attention gave to
different features of the profile.
Significance of the study
This research will understand how people view social
media content based on physical appearances of the profile owners. Understand
how physical appearance could affect the attention attracted on social media.
As today, people who is famous on social media are mostly because of the
good-looking appearance. Physical attractiveness of the profile owner played an
important role in attention gave to the profile.
Hypothesis 1: People who has better physical appearance could gain more
attention and fame on social media.
To understand the reason why physical appearances is
important on gaining attention, it’s important to study people’s perspective on
good physical appearances. This is because people have their different
perspective on the attractiveness of an individual. People have different thoughts
on a good physical appearance. It could be just a good-looking face, a good
body shape or maybe both. However, people are still more likely to be attracted
by people who has better physical appearance no matter which gender. This
research attempts to show the effects of attraction on social media by
including the elements of physical appearance.
Hypothesis 2: People are more likely to be attracted by people who has a
better physical appearance.
This study aims to find out why people with good physical
appearances could affect the attention gained on social media. This research
also aims to find out the perspectives of young people from age between 15 to
25. Young people are the most active on social media and their perspective is
very suitable for our findings in this research.
1) How does physical appearance affect attention
on social media?
2) Why physical appearance can affect attention
on social media?
According to Seidman and Miller (2013), people
tend to pay more attention to the physical appearance which is the main profile
photograph of a female than male profile owners. However, people pay more
attention to the personal information for example likes and interests of a male
than female profile owners. For the profiles of unattractive individuals, they
focused more on information that was not relevant to form an impression of the
profile owner such as advertisements. They are putting more effort to learn
about these unattractive individuals. This
is because areas with texts used a large proportion of the profile area
compared to the picture areas. Besides that, forming an impression is the
background of the current study, and the text areas were needed in this task.
Hence, it shows that viewers examine the profile photograph briefly to judge
the physical attractiveness and gender of the profile owner. They spend more
time reading the information of the profile owners to try forming an impression. Sexual interest towards the profiles of attractive
individuals is reasonable but not expected from the perceivers because the
background of the study was not romantic. The participants have not expectation
on meeting the profile owners. This research shows that people will be
attracted by the appearance of the good looking individual to form an
impression. However, people will focus on other information which is not
relevant to form an impression of the unattractive individual, more effort is
needed to learn about the unattractive individuals.
Profile owners felt less socially attractive when
comments that are other-generated were different with the self-presentation of
the profile owner. It cannot be successful without acceptance from others no
matter how they package themselves with exaggerated self-presentations. Having more social interaction in
profile pictures does positively affects popularity and social attractiveness.
If there are negative comments, people judge the profile owners as less attractive
and thinks that the profile owners have less friends on social media. This is
because people base their impressions towards the profile owners not just on
self-presentations but also on other people’s feedback about them. The findings show that social media user’s awareness
of controlling self-presentations online is very easy. However, they tend to
rely more on other-generated content that are seems to be more difficult to
control. People tend to rely more on
information that are other-generated than self-generated while forming
impressions. To achieve a positive self-presentation, being aware of
other-generated information is more important. Besides physical appearances,
other-generated information does affect the attraction on social media. This research shows that other generated information will affect the
impression of the individual no matter the physical appearance. (Hong, Tandoc,
Kim, Kim & Wise, 2012)
research by Greitemeyer
and Kunz (2013) stated that friendship requests of users who has
positive names and who are physically attractive are more likely to be accept
from other social media users. As a matter of fact, both names and physical
attractiveness does affects friendship acceptance on social media like Facebook
etc. This is why people arrange the details of their social media profiles
including a proper name to create good impression. Moreover, results revealed
that name-valence can be replaced or recovered by physical attractiveness.
Requests from users with positive names but moderately attractive and requests
from users with negative names but attractive did not significantly different
from people with positive names and attractive on acceptance rates. There are
both negative and positive implications in their findings. On the negative
side, people who has a negative name and not physically attractive are
disadvantaged. However, on the positive side, it appears that the negative
effects of one can be helped and improved by the other. Besides on having a
good physical appearance, the tidiness of the details in the profile for
example names could also affect the attention gained on social media.
According to Jaschinski & Kommers (2012),
there is a direct positive impact on the social attractiveness of the target on
their friend’s attractiveness. The friend’s attractiveness of the target user
could affect the popularity and attention gained on social media. The person
tends to be more likeable and seen as a potential friend when he has friends
who are good-looking. The gender of the target user and the gender of their
friends is not a significant element of this relationship. However, the
friend’s gender could create a main influence towards the target user. This is
because physical attractiveness of others can be carried over to a target user
who is related with this person’s. Visual cues can support the impression
making process, it does not matter if the cues are provided by the target
himself or by his friends that are related. There is no significant
relationship between profile owner’s gender and friend’s physical
attractiveness. This caused the prediction of the attractiveness stereotype
which is female profile owners are more attractive than male profile owners
were not supported. However, men are more likely to like a stranger on Facebook
and consider them as a potential friend than women no matter their gender and
physical appearances. This is because women are more concerned about the
privacy issues. Men are usually more opened up to strangers on social media
platforms. This could explain that the significant main effect of the
perceiver’s gender on social attractiveness according to the research. Friends
could also be one of the elements to gain fame and attraction on social media.
A research by Amon, M. (2015)
stated that in groups with mixed gender, women
were viewed longer periods of time and more often than men. Besides that,
observers are more likely to look at women first and last. Men spent more time
paying attention on pictures of women when there are fewer women in the group.
But there is an opposite effect for women, women viewed less on pictures of men
when there are lesser pictures of men in the group. Compared to male observers,
female observers spent more time looking at men. Men’s
preference for looking at women was magnified when women were the minority.
Male observers also do spend more time looking at women compared to female
observers. However, in overall, both female and male observers were looking at
women more than men. As stated clearly, women’s appearance does gain more
attention and interest than men in mixed-gender social groups. Doesn’t matter
of the amount pictures showed, people who observed are using almost same the
amount of time paying attention to pictures of people than the empty screen
space. This research shows that men and women had a nearly same baseline
interest in viewing other people, this shows difference with previous findings
that women used more eye contact on social interactions including gaze.
Quantitative method is
used to answer the research questions. A survey will be created online and
distributed to young people aged between 15-25 who are active on social media
platforms. This survey is divided into two sections. The first section will be
focused on the participant’s perspective on physical appearances on social
media. The second section will ask about participant’s knowledge on “click
bait” in social media. Click bait is an eye-catching link or thumbnail on a website or
videos which encourages people to read on. It is often paid for by the
advertiser or generates income based on the number of clicks. (“click
An online questionnaire will be created using
Google Forms, which is an online platform for surveys. Questions are to be
answered privately which the participant’s details and information including
name and contact number is not required. The questions are created according to
the research questions. The questions must be relatable with the research topic
and the findings of this research. The data will also be collected and analyzed
by Google Forms. After the survey questionnaires are prepared, it will be
randomly given out to approximately 75 participants from any gender. The number
of participant’s gender is not required to be equal.
Findings and Discussion
There is a total of 75 participants took the
survey. Participants demographic data is categorized under gender, age range,
average time spent on internet, most used social media platforms and sexual
preference (not compulsory).
There are 51 females (68%)
and 24 males (32%) took part in this survey. Participant’s majority age ranged
between 18 to 20 (74.7%) with a total of 56 participants. The second largest
age group is between 15 to 17 (21.3%) with a total of 16 participants. Followed
by the least age group 21 and above (4%) with a total of 3 participants.
Majority of the participants (60%) spend 5 hours and above on the internet per
day on average which consists of 45 participants. Followed by 27 participants
(36%) who spend approximately 2 to 4 hours on the internet per day on average.
There are very few participants who spend lesser time which is around 30
minutes and 1 hour on the internet per day, it consists of 3 participants. (4%)
The top 5 most used
social media platforms form the participants are Snapchat (85.3%), Instagram
(80%), YouTube (73.3%), Chatting apps (WhatsApp, WeChat etc.) (69.3%) and
Facebook (57.3%). Other social media platforms like Twitter (33.3%), Tumblr
(1.3%), Spotify (1.3%) and more is not very popular between the participants.
Hypothesis 1, 30 participants (40%) strongly agrees and 34 participants (45.3%)
agrees that people with a better physical appearance could gain more attention
and fame on social media. Participants in this research are very active on
social media. This shows that good-looking people or people who has good
physical appearance does gaining a lot of attention on social media at this
Also, consistent with
Hypothesis 1, 32 participants (42.7%) agrees and 18 participants (24%) strongly
agrees that people could gain more attention with showing more of their skin or
a sexy appearance on social media. Hence, most of the participants (49.4%)
agrees and strongly agrees that gaining fame and attention can be succeed with
only a better physical appearance and good-looking face. This shows that sexy
appearance is used on social media and good physical appearance does help to
gain fame and attention on social media effectively. The results from the data
collected does fulfill Hypothesis 1 clearly.
Hypothesis 2, majority of the participants (50.7%) agrees or strongly agrees
that they are attracted to people who has better physical appearance, followed
by 30 participants (40%) chose average. A total of 39 participants (52%) agrees
and strongly agrees that they will follow and keeping up with people who has
better physical appearances on social media. This results shows that people
does attracted to people who has good physical appearance and willing to
keeping up or follow their statuses or posts on social media. However, there
are still people who stays neutral.
For the results from
section 2, Majority of the participants (72%) which consists of 54 people saw
the most “clickbait” on YouTube videos, followed by Facebook (42.7%) and
Instagram (33.3%). This shows that “clickbait” are mostly used at social media
platforms that has more videos posted like YouTube or Facebook. This means that
“clickbait” are mostly used on videos for gaining attention on social media.
Also, consistent with
Hypothesis 2, most of the participants (57.3%) does attracted by the
“clickbait” and clicked in to the content. Which 41 of the participants
(54.67%) agrees that the most common “clickbait” seen are with people who shown
a lot of skin on thumbnails and uses sexual words or photos as title on
thumbnail. However, 46 participants (61.3%) chose interesting content used as
title and thumbnail is the most common clickbait they have seen. The results from
the data collected also does fulfill Hypothesis 2 well.
RQ1: How does physical
appearances affects attention on social media?
This research makes
several contributions. It shows that people does arrange their social media profiles
well to gain attention on social media. It also includes using physical
appearances to attract audience. According to Greitemeyer
and Kunz (2013), people with a proper name and good physical appearances does
create good impression to the audience and increase their attractiveness.
People who are not physical attractive are more on the negative side and can’t
gain attention as much as people who has good physical appearance. Because of
having physical appearance like showing more skin or a sexual appearance does
attract more attention, people started to use “click bait” which is an eye-catching link or
thumbnail on a website or videos which encourages people to read on. It is often
paid for by the advertiser or generates income based on the number of clicks. (“click
this research, it is found that people are really using their physical
appearances to attract audience on social media. They use it through thumbnails
or posting a photo with a good physical appearance on their social media.
Some people would show more of their skin to show a sexy appearance to the
audience for attention. The most common “clickbait” that
seen on social media also includes people who shown a lot of skin on thumbnails and uses sexual words or
photos as title on thumbnail.
It is reasonable to
find out that people are mostly attracted by the “clickbait” and clicked into
the content because of the physical appearances shown. Most of the “clickbait”
are usually girls with a good physical appearance or sexy appearance. According
to Amon, M. (2015), both female and male observers were looking at women
more than men in overall. So, women’s appearance does gain more attention and
interest than men in mixed-gender social groups. It concludes that people used
people who has good physical
appearance or sexy appearance which are mostly women as “clickbait” to attract
attention. People also post pictures of themselves with a good physical
appearance to gain attention on social media.
RQ2: Why physical appearance can affect attention on social
Since there is a solid
evidence that people who has better physical appearance could gain more
attention and fame on social media, this research also discussed about people
are more likely to be attracted by people who has a better physical appearance.
Hence, the reason why physical appearance can affect attention on social media
is because people does more likely to be attracted by people who has a better
The findings of this research showed that people agreed
that being good looking and has a better physical appearance does gain
attention and fame on social media. People also agreed that showing more skin
and has a sexy appearance could attract attention effectively, which is used by
most of the “clickbait” on social media. Most people also admitted that they
are attracted to people who has better physical appearance and willing to
follow them on social media and keeping up with their posts or statuses.
According to Seidman and Miller (2013), people
tend to pay more attention to people who are attractive and has a better physical
appearance. It concludes that people really does attracted by people who has a
better physical appearance, and this is why physical appearance can affect the
attention gained on social media.
Limitation and Suggestion
In conclusion, physical appearances do affects attention
gained on social media. Physical appearances could be an important factor for
audience attraction in social media and people are using it frequently as a
“tool” to gain attention.
The reason of why physical appearances affects attention
on social media is because people with good physical appearances could form a
good impression to the audience. (Seidman and Miller, 2013)
Moreover, Greitemeyer and Kunz (2013) stated that there are
positive effects towards acceptance rates for people who has good physical
appearances and good impression on social media. Based on the findings of this
research, audience are also willing to keep up with people who they have good
impression with on social media.
limitation of the research must be clarified clearly. Firstly, the participants
of this research have their own perspective of a good physical appearance.
Everyone has their own taste of a good-looking person, and this caused that
some people might think the person is good looking but others didn’t. This doesn’t
affect the statistics of the results but the difference might be more obvious
in real life. As in some people would follow their own perspective of a good
physical appearance and this shows some slightly different findings.
the data of this research may be affected by people who is not well known about
some information in social media. Although the participants are mostly young
people who are active on social media, but there are also some people who are
not active on other social media platforms or didn’t know about the information
like “clickbait”. These participants have less knowledge about social media so
the findings might be slightly affected by them.
the results and findings of this research doesn’t represent every other people
who uses social media in this world. There are only 75 of the participants in
this research and it is limited to the friendship circle of the researcher.
Hence, the results and findings can’t be seen or generalized as all people that
are using social media in this whole world.
According the findings in this research,
it shows that physical appearances really does affects attention on social
media. Hence, the gender of the people with good physical appearances is
important to be considered by future studies. This could get different results
as participants has different sexual preferences or there are differences on
the appeal of each gender. A good-looking female might be more attractive or
less attractive than a good-looking male.
further research on how and why people are attracted in people with good
physical appearance would be interesting. Not just on social media but why
people are attracted to good looking individuals in real life. Hence, physical
appearances of a person could find out the way impression formed towards the
individual. This study could help more future researches in social psychology