It's not what you say, it's how you say it: language use on Facebook impacts employability but not attractiveness

Graham G. Scott, Jason Sinclair, Emma Short, Gillian Bruce

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The expansion and increasing diversity of the Internet has seen a growth in user-generated online content, and an escalation in incorrect and nonstandardized language use (e.g., text speak). This evolution has been exemplified by social networking sites such as Facebook. In our experiment, participants viewed six Facebook profiles whose walls contained status updates that were either spelled correctly, incorrectly, or using text speak, and then rated the profile owners on measures of attractiveness and employability. It was shown that language use had no impact on attractiveness, but users who used correct language were seen as more intelligent, competent, and employable. These results highlight the need to control language in this area of research by demonstrating the variables' seemingly elevated importance to employers compared to peers. The findings also pave the way for further exploration of the Warranting Theory of impression formation online and the role of language in social media-based identity statements and behavioral residue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-566
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number8
Early online date20 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014

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