The New Rules of Social Networking

It pays to be friendly, but not too friendly, on Facebook and MySpace.

By Ferris Jabr, published on November 1, 2008 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

He Stands Alone

Males are far less likely than females to mention significant others in the "About Me" sections of their MySpace profiles, perhaps because they're inherently less inclined to define themselves through their relationships.

Teacher's Pet

"OMG, r u kidding me? My prof just friended me on FB!" One-third of surveyed students believe faculty should not be permitted access to Facebook, citing concerns of identity management and privacy. Males are more than twice as likely to be OK with faculty presence on Facebook.

Last Night Rocked

Things got pretty crazy at your party last night and your caring friends have already started uploading incriminating photos and anecdotes. Studies show that comments indicating misbehavior increase males' perceived physical attractiveness, but the same kind of comments have the opposite effect on females'.

Be My Friend?

According to one study, having too few or too many Facebook friends greatly decreases your social attractiveness: 300 was judged the optimal number. Any more and you start looking desperate.

Your God Here

Many Facebook users mute aspects of their lives that might be very meaningful to them for the sake of creating acceptable online personas. For example, only 13 percent make explicit claims of religious identity (versus 85 percent in the U.S. census).

Leveling the Field

Despite students' reluctance to integrate teachers and professors into online social networks, instructors who disclose information about their social lives on their Facebook profiles increase student motivation and create a more comfortable classroom climate.