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 sentiment, or, at the very worst, innocuous. Years ago, we might have called it a “humblebrag.” But the conditions of Twitter are such that the comment would not pass idly. Instead, over the next day, Beaton was barraged with hundreds of negative replies and quote-tweets. Strangers implied that her marriage wouldn’t last, described their own daily struggles, and lashed out at her for discussing this domestic ritual in a public forum. Most assumed, from the minimal context of the tweet, that Beaton and her husband are rich and do not work, injecting the poison of privilege into a darkening discourse.

The irony of that last response? 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, California, 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’ve worked hard and live “minimally and consciously.”

So what the hell happened? In messages with Rolling Stone, Beaton says: “I think initially what set people off was the fact that I said how I get to spend hours with my husband every morning. People took it as we don’t have jobs or we live a life of luxury.” Which is not the case, she reiterates.

The question of class was no doubt a factor, along with simple jealousy. But there’s something else at play here. Experienced Twitter users would expect to see this kind of pile-on (colloquially known as a “ratio”) for statements that are offensive, misleading, ignorant, or hostile on their face, particularly if shared by a politician or celebrity. The rush to portray the unknown Beaton as elitist and out of touch reveals an impulse to create a Twitter villain (a.k.a. “main character”) where none exists. In some way, Beaton was a victim of circumstance: at the time she posted, there just weren’t enough other lightning rods drawing electricity on the platform.

The choice of Beaton as a target also speaks to a toxic air of zero-sum competition on Twitter. On the one hand, there’s an eagerness to find and expose the “problematic” angle of even the most anodyne remark; establishing the reason that a woman shouldn’t say she loves sitting with her husband in their garden is a fitting challenge for certain antagonists. Then, of course, there’s a need to steer the discussion to oneself: the tweet, though seemingly harmless, has failed to consider me, and my problems, and is therefore a kind of directed violence. This phenomenon has been recognized and described in any number of canonical tweets and memes.

And this, ultimately, is what began to turn the tide for Beaton. Suddenly, it was the people angry at her who were being ridiculed for acting like victims. We saw parodies of her post that hedged and qualified every detail as if to avoid the wrath of the mob, and many references to a SpongeBob SquarePants character who claims to have an absurd list of injuries to elicit sympathy. At last, Beaton received supportive messages, requests to see her garden and an outpouring of goodwill. The ratio was reversed. She won.

“The experience of this whole thing has been a wild ride!” Beaton tells Rolling Stone. “At first getting all of the negative comments and quote tweets, yet in the end seeing the kindness and positivity prevail and drown out all of the negativity is so sweet!” She’s embracing her new title of “Garden Coffee Lady,” hopes to inspire others to try regenerative gardening, and has floated the idea of a podcast.

“I’ve kinda always been the ‘garden coffee lady’ in my mind, so the fact that I get to lean into it a little more and other people think of me as that i think is so cute!” she says. “It’s a positive and fun way of connecting with others and also just being myself and having fun with it.”

And Beaton has advice for the critics, too. “Hate and negativity only attracts that back onto to you,” she says. “I’ve learned that loving yourself first is really important, and when you don’t love yourself, it’s easy to not love others, and also become bitter towards others happiness. Doing daily things, and being around others that bring you joy and make you love yourself a little more can be life-changing.”

No doubt she’ll continue tweeting from the garden to demonstrate what she means. This is the serenity that comes with knowing you wrote the least objectionable post to ever launch a massive Twitter controversy. So far, that is.


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