I’ve written in the past about my love/hate relationship with social media, specifically Facebook. The virtual water cooler is laced with an addictive substance that keeps me distracted. I’ve noticed that in the last six months that someone has put Kool-Aid in the cooler and it’s toxic.

Facebook has always brought out an aggressive streak in many users, but I’ve seen some egregious behavior during the last six months in a group dedicated to women writers that included insults, bullying, and slander.

Earlier this week, I caught myself reading one long thread about ageism. Within three comments the vitriol surfaced and that’s when I decided I had had enough. It was time for a self-exile and this time I knew I had to be strict with myself and that meant no daily or weekly check-ins. This would be a cold-turkey exile with the goal to make it last the entire summer. So far, I’ve been gone for 72 hours and I don’t miss it.

I’ve been fortunate to meet several people offline and become friends with them. They helped me deal with Greg’s passing and encouraged me to forge ahead when everything looked overwhelming and bleak, but when social media becomes the pulpit for bullying, slandering, ridiculing and allowing adult women to act like 15-year-old mean girls it becomes difficult to ignore, and that’s when you realize that it’s time to step away.

In my last Facebook update, I said I needed the break to write for work, write for Julius, and write for my sanity and then went on to list what I wanted to accomplish while I was gone. This self-exile is also a reassessment of what’s important to me. The time I spend away from Facebook is the time I plan to put to good use. The tasks I hope to cross off is completing Julius, getting the dogs trained (the action sit and down is almost there!) as well as working getting Plain Speaking up and running. If I can accomplish that by the end of the summer, I am, as Mary Katherine Gallagher would say, a “Superstar”.