ICA: Article top-cited in journal

Posted on: September 29, 2011

Michigan State University communication scholar, Joseph Walther, was the lead author on an article ranked as Human Communication Research most frequently-cited article in 2010, from a release issued by the International Communication Association.

Walther is joint appointed in the departments of Communication and Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media.

Former Communication Department research assistants and Ph.D. students Brandon Van der Heide, Sang-Yeon Kim, Stephanie Tong and David Westerman were co-authors of the article, titled "The role of friends appearance and behavior on evaluations of individuals on Facebook: Are we known by the company we keep?"

Human Communication Research is the flagship journal of the International Communication Association, with 4,300 members in 80 countries. Across the 38-year history of this journal, Walther contributed three of the 10 most frequently cited articles, and he has the largest number of total citations of any communication scholar, says Charles Atkin, chair of the Department of Communication.

"MSU is influential in communication research; citations are a key indicator of impact on other researchers. His work has been cited more than 10,000 times. Among the thousands of communication researchers who have published articles in all journals over the past century, Dr. Walther already ranks among the top five most cited active researchers." Atkin said.

Walther's article explores how cues that Facebook friends post on one's online profile affect observers impressions of the profile owner. The experiment focused on "wall postings" that friends post on an individual's profile, and the friends pictures that appear alongside their comments. Results showed that the friends physical attractiveness affected observers perceptions of the profile owners attractiveness. Unfavorable comments about the profile owners excessive drinking reduced profile owners credibility, and caused female profile owners to be viewed as less attractive, but increased males perceived attractiveness.

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