Reducing Your Social Media Footprint

By Jordan Sapir

I’m a big fan of Über Moms and the mission of the group. I think it is positive and a resourceful, safe place online to bond with other like-minded mothers. I have to admit, I was a part of so many groups last year that I was becoming submerged in information and overwhelmed with other people’s problems. pexels-photo-1Often jealous of their lives and spiteful that I just couldn’t keep up with the Joneses — I’m not cool enough, thin enough, a good baker or wife, mom, human being.

When social media takes over your life it can wreak havoc on your real-life social life. No one wants to look at the top of your head during dinner, your child does not want to look up and see the back of a phone. They don’t know the difference between you sending an email or checking Instagram. The way they see it, you’re just taking away precious moments from them. The silence at the dinner table, play dates surrounded by other moms on their phones, it’s quite sad.

I have admittedly become increasingly obsessed with everything mobile phone related. My phone was constantly in my hand. In my business it had to be, but I never broke that habit. I never disconnected.

Well, in 2017 I have decided to take control. I turned off notifications from all groups that don’t provide positive information or resources. I have” Maria Kondoed” my social media footprint. If it doesn’t make me happy, it’s gone and it’s for the better. There were moments where I could get so sucked in I would turn around and realise I had wasted hours on other people’s issues and trolling.

Albeit, speaking first hand as an Admin of one of the many Mom Groups online, without their existence I think I’d be in the ER, calling poison control, and at the library every day. As valuable as I find many groups, there are equally frustrating groups that have confrontational members and cyber bullies; gleaning through the insurmountable amounts of information can be useful yet anxiety invoking.

Social media has been a resource for many, mothers online particularly benefit from connecting with like-minded mothers and many have found solace in a world that can at times feel lonely. We research our children’s ailments when they are unwell. We search for rainy day activities, we post family photos and brag about milestones and family adventures. We find like-minded local moms to exercise with, stay fit and have playdates with our children. There are great incentives to being part of a group, an online community or tribe so to speak.

For an average cyber mom the attraction to social media is based on the desire to feel in the loop, connected to the social realm and of course keep up with trends and friends, although their lives are mainly family focused. For an expat mom, that differs because there is an imminent hankering to be a part of the community left behind while building a community abroad.

Presumably moms are looking to find friends, build a support network and find valuable resources, solidarity. An expat cyber mama may be socially active and find friends online who she may not have otherwise been connected with in her home country.

Since the popularisation of forums and private social media groups has become trendy, well, a part of everyday life, how do you decipher between real life and your social media persona online? How do you benefit from social media without letting it control your life? The first approach is knowing where to draw the line and the red flags of addiction.

In my opinion, this year we should be more mindful of our social media presence, step away from those that are more stressful than not, including Über Moms if it is stress inducing. I will only stay a part of groups that add value to my life, are fun, resourceful, thought provoking and most importantly positive.

Here are my tips to lessening your social media footprint.

You may be addicted to social media when…

  • When responding to messages and chats is a chore
  • When your life on social media interferes with daily progress
  • When you are constantly glued to a device (including but not limited to date night, play time, bathroom breaks, meetups with other moms).
  • When you find it difficult to socialize in real life
  • When you have countless meaningless relationships online

Choose a group that you feel comfortable in. If a group is constantly making you feel bad about yourself or uncomfortable then it’s time to leave.

When you are having constant jabs, pokes and prods from friends/group members delete, block the person or leave the group.

Try to make an effort to know the people you are interacting with. What would you tell your children if they were calling people whom they’d never met in “real life” their friends and sharing personal information?

Speaking of sharing. Stop over sharing. Speak with any online security expert and they will tell you that your security can be compromised. You can give away your location, child’s name, personal information, photo, which could all be pieced together and use to hurt you.

When conducting business always make a phone call where possible and send emails opposed to private messages.

Lack of emotions and personal interaction can cause disparaging gaps in conversation, which could cause confusion and conflict.

Wherever possible pickup the phone and have a real interaction.

Use free time on accomplishing personal goals and only be apart of groups who encourage growth and not stagnant behavior.

Know what you’re looking for, find it and move on. Don’t Idle.

Finally, give yourself a specified amount of time to surf social media, in order to prevent checking on your phone 100 times throughout the day. It is always more time consuming when you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Turn off notifications. Who can resist a Ping enticing you to check your phone for the thousandth time in a day.

Get involved. Get away from online interactions that aren’t lending to you reaching your goals and rack up your free time, as you’ll have a lot more.

I have fun organizing events, challenges and interacting online with fellow Über Moms, I think I owe this to clearing my mind of a lot of the static. Since, I have tightened the reins on my online social life, I have also freed up more time to relax. I read articles and save posts I think the group might like, posting them all at the same time, as not to constantly check my phone. I don’t answer messages or emails that aren’t urgent. Finally I reserve a time slot specifically dedicated to social media, as not to mindlessly scroll my day right another my feet.

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