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Thursday, November 29, 2007

News: More orkut trends

In our first column, we reported how orkut users rated their beauty by continent. In a poll in the orkut trends community, 69% of you said that you'd like to see the per-country ratings (while 21% said they already know their country has the most beauties). Interestingly, almost all of the comments about beauty were by men commenting on women. We aim to please, so here are the results.

Women from Mexico are most likely (29%) to describe themselves as "beauty contest winners" and the least likely (2%) to describe themselves as "mirror-cracking material". Men from Tonga tend to extremes, with the most (23%) claiming to be pageant winners and an equal number (23%) claiming to be mirror crackers. Uruguayan women are most likely (58%) to consider themselves average, as are 58% of Paraguayan men.

If we assign a numerical weight to each rating (1 for beauty contest winner, 2 for very attractive, etc.), we can get a single "beauty index" for each country's women or men, with lower scores meaning greater (self-rated) beauty, and female Mexicans and male Equatorial Guineans taking the lead. Here are how orkut's leading countries stack up:

country female beauty index male beauty index
Brazil 2.95 3.13
United States 2.82 3.15
United Kingdom 3 3.29
Pakistan 3.05 3.25
India 3.23 3.38

The complete data is available here.

Of course, anyone can claim to be beautiful, especially online, so the above rankings may say more about conceit and humility than about looks. As one user wrote, "Orkut can make a lot of money if they put tax on how beautiful people declare themselves to be."

What if you want to judge people's beauty yourself? Just a week after we announced that you can store up to 100 photos in your orkut album, more than 10,000 of you had already gone to the limit. Iranians averaged the fewest photos per person: only 4.1. At the other extreme were Myanmar (12.8) and the island nations of the Cook Islands (12.6), Jamaica (12.7), the Northern Mariana Islands (13.6), and Madagascar (13.8). Of the most popular orkut countries, Indians averaged 6.5 photos each, Pakistanis 6.7, Americans 7.9, Brits 9.3, and Brazilians 9.4, so most of you can increase your albums tenfold! Of course, as Cesar JB expressed, "The concept of beauty varies from one country [to] another". In any case, statistics can give us information but not wisdom, such as that expressed 2500 years ago by Confucius: "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

Until next time, stay beautiful, each in your own wonderful way.

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