It’s not about the peas
I’m kind of a newbie on Twitter. I’ve had an account there for more than a few weeks, and have been playing around with it. I’m beginning to see more a point to it as I go along, but it’s still a work in progress for me.
As I’ve been exploring, I’ve been “following” people more and more. They’re not always people I know, but that’s been the fun part. Finding people who have Twits that interest you and seeing who they follow is a great way to get acquainted with a new blogger or learn something new. So, every day, I “follow” about 5-10 people. No big deal, until the other day.
“MeanTwitter” – not his or her real name – responded to my follow request with a “direct message”. I’m paraphrasing because I will not name this person, nor do I want to take up the matter with them any more than we already have. Anyhow, the message said in effect, “Thanks for the following request. I see you do not have ‘peas’ on your avatar. If you follow me, you need to have a “peas” avatar, and I will not follow you unless you do the same, either all the time or on Frozen Pea Friday. Thank you, goodbye.”
If you’re not familiar with peas thing on Twitter, it’s essentially to support a woman named Susan Reynoldswho is fighting breast cancer. She found amusement, warmth and support when she used a package of frozen peas to relieve the swelling from a biopsy.
I didn’t know Ms. Reynolds before she started blogging about her experiences with breast cancer. I’ve been so impressed with her, and am now a fan. But I don’t have a pea avatar. I can’t really give you a good reason why, but personally it would have felt false. Not because I don’t support her, but it’s not like me to jump on a bandwagon publicly like that.
I don’t appreciate that someone would try to bully me into having a pea avatar. Does this person know me, know my background? Do they know that I have a dear friend who has been fighting this disease for more than a decade? Do they think I don’t care simply because I have not put peas in my icon? Do not get me wrong. I support Susan Reynolds to the fullest in her battle with this insidious disease. I just don’t do it with peas. When I am asked to donate to someone’s Race for the Cure team, I do it. If and when my friend asked me to drive her to chemo or radiation, I would do it in a heartbeat. Get my kid’s class to write letters of support to someone going through a bone marrow transplant – been there and would do it again. If I was requested to write a letter to Congress to demand more money for cancer research or to fund mammograms for low income women, you’ve got me. Heck, I’d even march on Capitol Hill if you needed me to. And I’d be thinking of Susan Reynolds when I did it. You might even say I would do these things because of her and the other women in my life who have cancer.
That’s the point, isn’t it? I bear no ill will against anyone who has peas in an avitar and I hope this post isn’t taken as being anti-pea. But I also don’t believe in bullying someone into doing something for a misguided purpose. I can’t imagine Ms. Reynolds would want there to be someone taking things this literally. Deny me a following because I didn’t sign a petition or encourage women to go for mammograms. Don’t deny me a following because I chose not to change an avatar.