Does Attractiveness Play A Role In Popularity On Social Media Sites?


Research shows people like Alex from Target tend to be more popular on social media than other people because of their attractiveness and the bandwagon effect. Additionally, marketing teams like to take these people and create brands out them.

As Lois Fernyhough, Chair of the Communications Department at Camosun says, “research shows that people are more inclined to follow the leader and these leaders tend to be attractive. Further research has indicated that people who are considered to be more attractive rate more highly on the likeability scales and that other people rate them as more intelligent even though that may not be the case.”

Lois states “once, say someone is requesting to follow you and you look at them and they got like 50000 followers it’s like ‘oh, well maybe other people like them so it’s worth while’. Lois suspects that “this can very well explain the Alex from Target thing. If enough people have shared it, it reaches kind of a critical mass where it’s out there enough that it’s attracting more people.”

Is the popularity of these people “based on the person’s perceived attractiveness? Did it just happen to be uploaded at a time where, the person that took the photo maybe she has a number of followers or friends, they noticed and they retweeted the image? Or other people picked up on it and it just kind of hit a critical mass and from there it kind of exploded.” Lois questioned.

Lois also stated, that “there has also been some research done that shows people who are attractive can lead by example. Marketing research has been done where if a person who is ‘attractive’ selects an item in a store, such as a grocery store, people around watching the attractive person may themselves purchase that item.”

However, attractive people tend to be popular with effects like the bandwagon effect. These people can get popular from a number of ways. As Lois stated, they can get popular from the way the person looks. To The image being uploaded at the right time. Or even other people picked up on it and it just kind of hit a critical mass and from there it kind of exploded.

If topics within social media interest you and you would like to learn more about it, check out CMNS 100 (Introduction to Communication), CMNS 105 (Communication and Technology), CMNS 112 (Popular Culture and Media) and CMNS 130 (Mass Media Communication) offered by Camosun College and the Digital Communications/Digital Productions Writing and Design programs.

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