The old maxim “Never tweet” was rarely more applicable than when a woman named Daisey Beaton chose to express the joy of sharing coffee and conversation each morning with her husband in their garden. They “sit and talk for hours,” she wrote, concluding, “love him so much.”
A sweet feeling, or, at worst, innocuous. Years ago we might have called it a “humblebrag”. But Twitter’s terms are such that the comment would not pass idly by. Instead, the next day, Beaton was bombarded with hundreds of negative replies and tweet quotes. Strangers hinted that her marriage would not last, described their own daily struggles and lambasted her for discussing the domestic ritual in a public forum. Most assumed, from the minimal context of the tweet, that Beaton and her husband are wealthy and non-working, injecting the poison of privilege into a darkening discourse.
The irony of this last answer? It came from a professional YouTuber, someone who might know a thing or two about the variety of work schedules. Beaton went on to explain that she has her own business in Sacramento, Calif., as a cosmetologist, offering vegan and cruelty-free eyelash services, while her husband, Matt Beaton, is a professional skateboarder who also teaches yoga. . In a follow-up tweet addressing the backlash, Beaton wrote that they had worked hard and lived “minimal and mindful”.
So, what happened ? In messages with rolling stone, Beaton says, “I think what initially triggered people was the fact that I said I could spend hours with my husband every morning. People took it because we don’t have a job or we live a life of luxury. Which is not the case, she reiterates.
Class was probably a factor, as well as simple jealousy. But there is something else at play here. Experienced Twitter users would expect to see this type of stacking (colloquially referred to as a “ratio”) for statements that are offensive, misleading, ignorant, or hostile on the face of it, especially if shared by a politician or celebrity. The rush to paint the unknown Beaton as elitist and out of touch reveals an impulse to create a Twitter villain (aka “main character”) where none exists. In a way, Beaton was a victim of circumstance: at the time she posted, there just weren’t enough other lightning rods shooting electricity at the rig.
The choice of Beaton as a target also speaks to a toxic air of zero-sum competition on Twitter. On the one hand, there is a willingness to find and expose the “problematic” angle of even the most innocuous remark; establish the reason why a woman should not saying she likes to sit with her husband in their garden is a fitting challenge for some antagonists. Then, of course, you have to direct the discussion towards yourself: the tweet, although seemingly innocuous, did not take into account meand my problems, and therefore is a kind of directed violence. This phenomenon has been recognized and described in many canonical tweets and memes.
And that’s ultimately what started to turn the tide for Beaton. Suddenly, it was the people angry at her who were ridiculed for acting like victims. We saw parodies of his message that covered and qualified every detail as if to avoid the wrath of the crowd, and many references to a Sponge Bob SquarePants character who claims to have an absurd list of injuries to garner sympathy. Finally, Beaton received messages of support, requests to see his garden and an outpouring of goodwill. The report has reversed. She won.
“Experiencing it all has been a wild ride!” Beaton tells rolling stone. “In the beginning, receiving all the negative comments and quote tweets, but in the end, seeing the kindness and positivity prevail and drown out all the negativity is so sweet!” She’s embracing her new title of ‘Garden Coffee Lady’, hopes to inspire others to try regenerative gardeningand came up with the idea of a podcast.
“I’ve always been the ‘garden cafe lady’ in my mind, so the fact that I’m leaning into it a bit more and other people thinking of me like that, I think is so cute!” she says. “It’s a positive and fun way to connect with others and also be myself and have fun with it.”
And Beaton has some advice for critics, too. “Hate and negativity only draw this towards you,” she says. “I learned that loving yourself first is really important, and when you don’t love yourself, it’s easy to dislike others, and also to become bitter towards other people’s happiness. Doing everyday things and being around other people who bring you joy and make you love yourself a little more can change your life.
No doubt she will continue to tweet from the garden to demonstrate what she means. It’s the serenity that comes with knowing that you’ve written the least objectionable post that has ever sparked a huge controversy on Twitter. So far, that is.