SUSTech Student English Newspaper Article

2018-9-20

By: Matthew Jellick

During Freshman “Pre-Sessional” week, CLE teacher Matthew Jellick designed and implemented a Speaking Lesson where students gave a brief presentation about the meanings behind their respective WeChat avatars.  An interactive and informal approach, it not only gave students an opportunity to practice their English-speaking skills, but it also allowed them to get to know each other; Freshman who will be spending the next four years living and learning together.

One particular student, Mao Zhenjian (毛振江), took a particular interest in what was being presented by his classmates, asking the teacher if he could further explore the topic.  Matthew encouraged him to write a short article, and together, they could edit it for publication in the local English newspaper, The Shenzhen Daily.

After meeting for revisions within the CLE’s Writing Center, the article was submitted and accepted for printing, providing Mao with tangible evidence of his hard work and determination:

 “Findings in WeChat Profile Pictures”

By: Mao Zhenjian

Most people know WeChat is the most popular social application in China and its profile picture is an essential part for any WeChat user. Yet, most young people don’t like to put their own self-picture as their profile pictures, perhaps because of privacy issues.

So, what kind of pictures do young people use? After taking a class about introducing the reasons that students use different pictures for profiles, I classified the pictures.

It is easy to see that cartoons and anime are popular sources for profile pictures. Most cartoon pictures are not familiar to us; however, they are cute and give people a good impression. And the reasons some people use anime characters is they like them for their introductions, even if few people can tell where the characters come from. Few people use their real pictures or pictures of their girlfriends or other people. And some of the selfies are back views or are processed so it is difficult to be recognized by other people.

And the DIY pictures are creative, but it takes time to make a very original and wonderful picture. Scenery pictures are also beautiful, as they are natural pictures and famous landscapes shot by professional photographers. Using superstars is a great choice too, while star chasing is a common activity among teens. People who use the default picture means that they have not changed a picture since they registered onto WeChat. Some say they don’t use WeChat very often. Others say they are too busy to pick a picture, or they don’t know what to pick for their profile.

All in all, just like what the great philosopher Bacon said, “Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep.” For myself, I want to say “People who choose scenery for their picture are uninhibited, cartoons kind, anime free, real person not fake, DIY creative, internet games happy, stars joyful, animals friendly, default picture easy.”

Everyone has their own opinions on what to choose for their profiles. Yet what they choose is not important. Rather it is their expression that truly matters.