The purpose of this study was to determine the effect that humorous Facebook messages have on perceived source credibility and social attractiveness. Social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook continue to rise in popularity, solidifying their ongoing presence and influence for the foreseeable future. As users continue to look for ways to manage interpersonal impressions online, many turn to humor in public wall posts and message feeds. With humor proliferating the content of nearly 20% of Facebook posts, it begs the question of what effect its use has on impression management. To address this question, the researcher asked 283 participants at a large Midwestern university to participate in an experimental design, rating the social attractiveness and credibility of a Facebook profile user following exposure to one of four conditions (male non-humorous, male humorous, female non-humorous, and female humorous conditions). The conditions were presented in the form of screenshots that had been created through the manipulation of html code to control for extraneous variables and to incorporate the message conditions. Results demonstrated that there was no significant difference in the dependent variables due to changes in the humorous condition. However, there was significance between a change in biological sex and perceived social attractiveness and the caring dimension of source credibility. The male control (non-humorous) condition received a higher rating in social attractiveness and caring compared to the female control and both female conditions respectively. Further research should be conducted to address the lack of significance between humor and the dependent variables as well as to further investigate the link between biological sex online and the dependent variables.
Stoll, Brett A.
"The Effects of Humorous Facebook Posts on Messenger Credibility and Social Attractiveness,"
The Hilltop Review: Vol. 7
, Article 3.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/hilltopreview/vol7/iss2/3