Family is at the very core of the Hispanic community. This is a bit of a cliché, but it also happens to be true. Abuela has to know how you are doing, as does your mother, father, tia, primo, prima and your next door neighbors sisters kinda friend. Now through the magic of technology in Facebook, all of this has gotten a lot more complicated.
The number of U.S. Hispanics on Facebook is somewhere around 13.5 million people, so that is a lot of abuelas and family members. Invasive potentially squirm inducing questions are no longer limited to holiday gatherings. After doing a very unscientific poll of people within shouting distance, please find below some helpful tips for avoiding potentially sticky situations with your family on Facebook.
1. First tip, if you do not want your family members to know what is going on in your life don’t put everything you do on Facebook, or avoid actually being friends with your family members or in-laws.
2. If your family member does not want to be friends with you do not be offended or deluge them with friend requests, slash guilt texts. If you can’t help it, and are put in the uncomfortable position of being friends with in-laws or distant family members learn about your privacy settings. Just because you are friends with family members on Facebook, does not mean that they have to see everything going on in your life.
3. Don’t ask your family member who you have not seen in person in ten years to buy a cow from you in Farmville.
4. Don’t post disapproving post’s on family member’s pictures, no matter how trashy they may look.
5. In general do not post very private family matters on their walls, if it is that urgent, pick up a phone and call them.
6. Do not disclose your salary on Facebook, no matter how desirable you may think it makes you.
7. Do not post potentially racist things on families’ walls, no matter how hilarious they may be to you.
8. Don’t publish club pictures, nor should you post pictures of yourself in any type of undress no matter how much you have been working out.
9. Now for the tricky stuff: relationships– If you are going getting together or breaking up on Facebook, do it once, don’t get together then break up ten seconds later. This will confuse your abuela.
10. If you get in a fight with your significant other, do it over the phone or better yet in the privacy of your home, not on Facebook. If you are madly in love with your significant other, declare it in person, that’s always more romantic anyway.
That about does it for the basic things we should all strive to do to keep the peace with our family on Facebook. There is more, but this is a good foundation. The reality is Facebook is awesome, family is awesome, and putting them together can be complicated and also wonderful. For the most part we should always want to share as much information with our family as possible. Certainly this is different for everyone, but as our country changes demographically, so to is the way in which we engage technology. This is a good thing, its progress, just make sure abuela does not see what happened last night at the bar.
Kristian Ramos is the Policy Director of the 21st Century Border Initiative at NDN and The New Policy Institute.