About Virtual China

    Virtual China is an exploration of virtual experiences and environments in and about China. The topic is also the primary research area for the Institute for the Future's Asia Focus Program in 2006. IFTF is an independent, nonprofit strategic research group with more than 35 years of forecasting experience based in Palo Alto, CA.
    Lyn Jeffery is a cultural anthropologist and Research Director at the Insitute for the Future, where she leads its Asia Focus Program.
    Jason Li is currently a design research intern at Adaptive Path. He previously worked at IFTF & Microsoft Research Asia, and recently graduated from Brown University.
    Nan Yang is a freelancer in Shanghai whose many projects include part-time Mandarin teacher at MandarinShanghai.com, assistant for Eric Eldred from Creative Commons, translating manager for gOFFICE, translator for MeMedia, member of Social Brain Foundation, and author of 1idea1day.com. She is also passionate to take part in small and innovative seminars in Shanghai.

About Asia Focus

  • In response to the great need for foresight about Asia, IFTF has launched the Asia Focus Program. Asia Focus research topics are large-scale, under-explored areas from which unexpected futures will emerge. It is part of IFTF's flagship program, the Ten-Year Forecast Program, which provides a broad scan of the environment and is a leading source of foresight for a vangard of business, government, and nonprofit organizations.

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« Chinese MySpace: strange crosscultural platform | Main | truthfulness and Chinese discussion forums (BBS) »

April 29, 2007



I Don't think it is so surprising that the types of photos posted on myspace.com vs. myspace.cn differ so much. In general, most of the people i have met online in China access the web still through internet cafes and all of their pictures tend to come from web-cams available in these cafes. You have alot more freedom with a digital camera to take not only high-quality shots, but shots where you are not sitting down in front of a computer! There are definitely some cultural differences too in the style's of pictures and poses people use. It will be interesting to see how those change over time- will they become more "Western" or "Japanese?" Or will they tend to become more unique in their own way? Just my thoghts..


Interesting point about the internet cafes -- I hadn't thought of that!

David Scott Lewis

Take this a step further: I know from personal experience that many (most?) Chinese women tend to use glamor photos on sites such as AsiaFriendFinder. The photos are often digitized professional photos, often having little resemblance to how a woman really looks. In essence, the total opposite of a webcam photo.

Guess it depends on one's objective. Matter of fact, only an idiot would use a webcam photo when their collective "competition" are using digitized professional photos, although some still do this -- but usually only those with a free membership.


Awesome comparison. I, admittedly, was addicted to myspace when I first signed up. Even though I outwardly tell everyone I'm of the "I don't care about my photo" camp, I am extremely particular about what photo to put up.

The one category I'd add to the myspace.com list is the compulsory self-portrait mirror shot. Nearly every profile has one displayed at some point.


Oh, and the other thing I just thought of. I wonder why Chinese users do not use their own travel shots?

Everytime you go anywhere remotely touristy in China there are HOARDS of people having their photos taken in front of pagodas, temples, trees, lakes, Buddhas, statues, big rocks, flowers, Spring Festival decorations, etc. I have observed they even have set poses. Men often put their arms at their sides and look sort of serious. Girls do lots of different poses, coy, cute, hands up in the air, jazz hands, everything.

I usually have a difficult time taking photos at places of interest because everyone and their mother (literally) wants their photo in front of it.



Thanks for the comments. Self-portrait mirror shot = glamour self-portrait shot? Or directly looking into camera...?

True, I've seen a few People In Front of Scenary shots, but not as a cohesive trend (and keep in mind I'm doing this very haphazardly :)).


hey there

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