Pocho

Getting off Facebook

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There comes a time when all good things must come to an end, when we must divorce ourselves from the things we love, or think we love. Such is the case with me and my love affair (read: obsession) with Facebook. It’s not you, Mark Zuckerberg, and your evil empire. It’s me.  

The moment of clarity came when a friend (a real one, actually) posted an article on Facebook, of all places, that suggested humans are becoming addicted to the Internet and all of its wonderful offerings, like YouTube, Gawker and, the granddaddy of them all, Facebook. 

How else do you explain the incessant postings of children (cute and not-so-cute),  or cats in memes (if you don’t know what that means, consider yourself lucky)? I call it the “post-and-wait syndrome,” when you post something and then, for the next few hours, constantly check in to see if anyone liked how cute your kid looks holding a spoon, or your rant against Joe Arpaio.

I have been guilty of doing the kid thing for sure, and I realize that I post these photos fully expecting a response. I might as well just go to the nearest mall, hold my kid up over my head and shout, “Hey! Who likes my kid? Isn’t he cute?”

What does this have to do with Latinos? Well, as with diabetes, we are more prone to become obsessed with Al Gore’s invention than non-Latinos. Our Internet usage rates are growing faster than that of the general population, and, according to Nielsen, Latinos watch 68 percent more online videos. 

Marketers are paying attention to this. On YouTube, you can learn how to filet fish on MiTú, a Latino lifestyle network that offers tips on health, beauty and food, as well as featuring stories about family, home and “pop cultura.” Yes, pop cultura, because nothing says pop culture to a hip Latino like “pop cultura.”

So, watch out! They’re coming after people who are already susceptible to Internet addiction. The Internet is like alcohol, something that could lead to an enjoyable experience, but also to an addiction and the problems associated with that. I came to this analogy (no analogy is ever a good one, but I like this one) when, after reading the aforementioned article, I decided to go “dark.” That’s a term my friend likes to use when he’s stays out of the public eye. 

The experience was easier than I thought and, when I did check my Facebook newsfeed a few days later, I could see the forest through the trees. It was like when you quit drinking for a month and realize how dumb your friends can be when they’re drunk. I was hopped up on notification alerts!

When I would meet someone and they would say they weren’t on Facebook, I would whisper under my breath, “Ay, que muy muy.” How could this person not want to be my friend some place other than right in front of me? I don’t think they’re trying to be holier-than-thou, maybe they just don’t see the worth in it. 

Lucky bastards.

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