Eye-Tracking Study Shows What People Really Look at on Your Facebook Profile

The red areas are where people look the most. (Photo from Mashable.com)The red areas are where people look the most. (Photo from Mashable.com)When people look at your Facebook profile, you'd think they'd be most interested in what you're doing and thinking -- the things you post in your status updates, the articles you link to, the pictures you post on your wall. But according to researchers, the thing on which their eyes really linger is your profile picture.

According to a study that EyeTrackShop conducted for Mashable, your old friends, new network contacts, your coworkers, and even potential employers spend the most time staring at your profile picture on Facebook. They take a look at the people you're friends with -- or their thumbnail photos, at any rate.

The study, which involve just 30 people (which means it's by no means definitive), used participants' webcams to track their eye movements every 10 seconds as they looked at profile pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, and other social media sites.

On Klout, Facebook, and StumbleUpon, the profile photo took priority. But on LinkedIn, the thing that people looked at most was the job title -- not the photo, resume information, number of contacts, or recommendations.

In terms of content, the stuff at the top of your page got the greatest number of eyeballs, no matter whether the participants were looking at Pinterest or Facebook.

What's the takeaway? If you're using social media to job hunt, in addition to all of the other common-sense rules you should follow, make sure your profile picture looks professional, give yourself a good job title, and keep the most important information at the top of your profile page.

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