Jared Braiterman, a principal at Giant Ant, recently showed me some of their work from their on-going research on youths and technology (dubbed “Mobile China China Mobile“).
Here’s an excerpt from one of their visual reports, entitled “Chinese Students Rarely Use Their Own Photos As Avatars”(download):
The research result is that, of the profile pictures analyzed, only 4 of 200 Chinese students abroad used their own picture as their icon versus 58 of 200 Americans.
Yet the sample contains some bias: the data for the Chinese users came from a BBS called 未名空间 while the American sample was UC Berkeley students’ blogs on Livejournal. Additionally, UC Berkeley students are far from homogeneous: I would say that the Chinese-Americans occupy a middle space between the two and therefore dilute the results.
Regardless, the original statistic, 4 of 200, stands. Yet, it’s the remaining 196 that is interesting. For example: why do people like to use baby pictures, and is that actually them as a baby?