Facebook Profile Pictures

How often do you change your profile picture?

Facebook Profile PictureSome people change their Facebook (or other social media network) profile picture a few times a week. Others only change their picture when something important happens. Some users think long and hard about which photo to use, and stick with it long-term. What is it that makes you look at a picture of yourself and deem it “profile worthy”? A recent study suggests that your answer may differ depending on where you were brought up.

Authentic Materials

Do you enjoy using authentic materials in the classroom? Are you looking for something interesting to talk about? Check out this recent Huffington Post article: Facebook Profile Picture Choice May be Influenced by Cultural background. According to the study, Facebook users from the West typically use close up profile photos, while those from the East often include more background. Share (or paraphrase for lower levels) this article with your English learners. Then have a discussion about it. Here are a few questions to discuss with your students:

  • What does your current profile picture look like (on Facebook or another social network)?
  • How often do you change your profile picture?
  • How do you choose a profile picture?
  • What does your profile picture tell people about you or your cultural upbringing?
  • What are some benefits to keeping the same profile picture?
  • What are some benefits to changing profile pictures regularly?
  • Are you comfortable sharing zoomed in shots of yourself on social media networks?

English learners may also be interested in the related Facebook Security slideshow “What Not To Post on Facebook” (scroll down to the bottom of the article). Ask your students to think of 15 things that should not be posted in a status update. Did your students come up with the same 15? Have a vote to see which students agree or disagree with the security suggestions. If your students are interested in this topic, try playing around with “Fakebook”. This is an educational tool for inventing and working with fake Facebook profiles.

“Interestingly, with regard to smile intensity, Americans tended to show greater intensity of smiling (i.e. smile with teeth) compared to their East Asian counterparts.” ~ Chih Mao Huang and Denise Park as quoted by Huffington Post

Related in the ESL-Library
Discussion Starters: Social Media Networks
Mini-Debates: Employee Tracking
Famous Things: The Internet
Previously in Something to Talk About: The Right To Protest

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