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As a "beginner" (although I registered FB five years ago, I stopped using it three years ago. Quite a beginner) of using facebook, I do not have facebook friends that have different age groups. Almost everyone is the same age as me, so it is really hard for me to do a general analyse. Trying to find something that could be analyzed even in a narrow age range, I went through every profile picture. The time people changed their profile photos attracted my attention:

Firstly let's see how many people posted their recognizable selfie. 


Nearly 90% of people uses their selfies, which is a very low percentage on a really open and popular social media like facebook. (Fun fact: All of the people use random pictures are Chinese.) I wanted to test people's desire of showing themselves, so I counted it as recognizable if people themselves appear in the picture. I will go through this feature later. Ignore those people first.(sorry)

The time table of people changing their profile photos into recognizable selfies is shown below:


The number of people who changed their photos in 2015 is much more than the number of people who changed their photos in 2014 before (absolutely!). However, we can see two peaks in 2015: June and August. Actually there is an increase from May (because from January to April the amount of people are added together). June's peak can be explained as GRADUATION after I went through those photos again, since many of those people in their profile photos are dressed in formal suits. This feature shows that people prefer to record some important things in their lives and share them with others in an indirect way (like facebook).

But what about August's peak and the trend? Almost every other photo is normal selfie. Nearly all of them are pretty selfies (except one of them is funny face). The reason for this increasing peak is UNIVERSITY! A large amount of my friends on facebook are in the same year with me, so we entered university at the same year. People want to show their pretty faces on facebook to help them making friends in their new life stage. Among those 13 people who uses random pictures, only 2 of them changed the photos on late 2015. (one of them is in high school; another one may just have different thoughts..)

Some people may ask, that is really common sense. That is how people use social media. But I will so no after I check my friends' profile photos on wechat. (sorry I do not know why I cannot upload screenshots of wechat profile photos, so here I can only provide data) Among 42 people who use recognizable picture as profile photos on facebook, 28 people use to random doodles on their wechats! Exactly 2/3 people changed their profile photos in order to adapt facebook, or in other words, "American culture". Some Chinese people do not want to show themselves to the strangers they do not know, so they just hide. (some Chinese people like to judge others) They use wechat to talk to their friends, so even without profile photos their friends know who they are. But when they go to the United States, they know they have to be outgoing, so they change their profile photos on facebook to meet more people and adjust themselves into the culture. Among 10 people who use random pictures on facebook, all of them use random pictures on wechat. They may just keep that as a habit. In conclusion, culture will influence how people use media, or in other words, how media works.

That brings to the end of my project. Actually there are many interesting aspects of how people use social media. I only examine how people of my age uses social media, but other age groups have different uses of the same social media. We use social media to record our precious memories and share them with others, and try to find friends through social media. We define how we use the social media, as well as the culture we are in.

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