I Don’t think I’m a Fail Whale

My apologies to the loyal blog readers I have here.  I have been rather uninspired of late and my poor blog and readers have been sadly neglected.   I will endeavour to put an end to the neglect.

Unfortunately my first post back is not what I had in mind.  I am going to have a bit of a rant, but in the nicest possible way.  I’m not a person who likes to incite agitation in people nor do I want to start any confrontation, but something made me really sad last night and I want the chance to give my point of view.

On Sunday night I signed up for Shutdown Communication.  Basically you make a donation and take a day out from social networking to show your support for Autism.  Now I am going to be honest here and say I didn’t read what the premise of the shutdown was all about.  I knew the cause was Autism and I figured not communicating was a correlation with autism.  I didn’t really delve into it.  I didn’t need to.  I donated my money to a great cause and took a day out from twitter to write some reports.   For me it was as simple as that.

Does this attitude make me a bad person?  Am a any less the person I was on Sunday morning?  Does the fact that I came back online after 23 hours offline mean I don’t care about autism or that I’m not committed to the cause?  I certainly didn’t think so, or that was how I felt until I came back to Twitter.

I signed on and saw a tweet about rather than shutting down we should talk about Autism and I thought this made sense so I RT’d it.  I then thought I’d catch up on the day and see what I might have missed out on.  This was a mistake.  Reading some of the tweets made me feel like I was a really bad person.  I felt like I was being disrespectful to all those with autism and all those who have a child with autism.  All because I made a donation and stayed off Twitter.  I went to bed last night with a heavy heart and in some ways beating myself up a bit about it.  I’m like that.  I started to wonder if perhaps I am not a good person and as kind and generous as perhaps I think I am.

This morning I woke up feeling annoyed.  I was annoyed that I let myself go to sleep feeling so down on myself and annoyed that so much judgement was being made on, what I think was, a very clever fundraiser.  I can honestly say that I probably wouldn’t have donated any money to autism this year because it is not something I am constantly exposed to.  The fact this campaign drew me and many others in is fantastic.   Does this mean I’m not a charitable person?  Maybe to those who don’t know me and to those who are heavily involved in Autism charities I could appear to be.  I’m not.

Here’s why.

Whilst autism does not affect me or my family directly, I do have a really close friend who it affects.  My best friend of 43 years, who lives in another state, has an autistic little boy.  She goes through so much with him and her life is definitely more difficult than mine.  While I am not actively involved in any Autism charities, I will donate or go to a lunch if it appears on my radar.  She is amazing, her little boy is amazing and all the mums and autistic children out there are amazing.

I have a mother in law with Alzheimers.  This dreadful disease impacts heavily on our family.  Her life is a living hell.  We all take turns in caring for her – it impacts us all.  I’m quite sure none of us have donated to any Alzheimer causes.  If someone called us or turned up on the doorstep or if Twitter had a fundraiser I would most definitely donate/particpate.   Am I a bad person because I don’t actively seek out this cause that directly affects my family?

I have many friends with breast cancer. One beautiful girl with 2 boys the same age as mine is not going to survive.  She is dying.  I donate a lot to breast cancer because they are highly visible and whenever I am asked I donate.   Does this mean I place more importance on this charity rather than Alzheimers or Autism?

I am heavily involved in homeless causes.  I volunteer 3 full days per year for Homeless Connect.  I  volunteer my time regularly to MC functions hosted by the Lady Mayoress for Brisbane’s Youth in Need.  I don’t personally have any relatives or friends who are homeless, but these people move me.  They are often the forgotten ones.  I give up a lot of my time and am generous in my cash donations to these causes.   Many homeless charities are not on anyone’s radar and badly need funds.  I am passionate about these charities.  Not everyone is.  Does this mean I think you are not a good person or have your priorities wrong because you don’t do as much as I do here?

I was sexually abused as a young child.  There are many causes out there to help raise awareness and much needed funds to provide help and support.  I donate whenever I can to different charities that come up on my radar.  I don’t actively seek out these charities.   Does this make me a hypocrite?  Should my past experiences make me a champion for all child abuse causes?

My youngest son was heavily into drugs for 12 months.  We are still walking this tightrope. I don’t volunteer or donate to Drug Arm, however if I was asked to buy a ticket or donate I would.  Does this make me a bad person because I don’t commit more to this charity?

Every year Mike and I, or sometimes just Mike, volunteer to take school boys out for the Red Shield Appeal door knock.  This is half a day of our time.  At Christmas we deliver Salvation Army Christmas presents and hampers to families doing it tough.  Another half day out of our time.  Do I think people who don’t do this are not as charitable as I am?

I donate money regularly to RSPCA, Project 18, Children’s Oncology Unit, Surf Lifesaving, Boystown, Royal Children’s Hospital and any others that come up on my radar.  If you can’t afford to donate money do I think you care any less than I do?

My answer to all those questions is an emphatic NO.  We all do what we can, when we can. I can’t always afford to donate, this year has been particularly tough for us financially so my donations are not as much as usual.  Doesn’t mean I don’t understand the great work all these charities do.  Doesn’t mean I don’t care about the people who benefit from my donations.

What I am trying to say is that all charitable causes are magnificent.  They raise much needed finances to help support people who are generally doing it tough.  Whether that be through illness, abuse, drugs or homelessness.  How they raise this money and awareness I don’t believe should be the subject of heated and at times hateful discussion.  Shouldn’t the discussion be about how great it is that the cause has some exposure and they are raising some much needed funds?   Charities are constantly looking for ways to draw people in, get people involved.  Does it really matter that the shutdown doesn’t fully sit with how Autism affects people?   It got people talking, writing lovely posts and donating money.  I personally don’t see the problem with that.   To draw an analogy, how does “shave for a cure” help people with Leukaemia?  It has been a highly successful campaign that encourages people to shave their heads in support for people with Leukaemia.  Could this be seen as mocking those who are undergoing such horrendous treatments?  Shaving our head is quite meaningless – we aren’t enduring the pain and suffering these people are.  In a way we are making fun of something they don’t choose to do?  Well that is how it could look if you care to analyse it so deeply.   But we don’t, why would we.  It’s all about raising funds and awareness.  Just the same as yesterday’s shutdown.

Let’s just say FANTASTIC WORK to anyone who has the passion, time and know how to start a campaign that raises awareness and brings in funds.   That is what it is all about. Nothing more, nothing less.

I haven’t written this for anyone to attack me, or to tell me how fantastic I am because I help out.  I have written it because life is short and rather than judging people for something like this, can’t we all just accept that we all do things differently, have different views and have different reasons to support them, but essentially we are all good hearted and kind of spirit?   Well that’s what I would like to believe anyway.

About Annieb25

A mum to 2 teenage boys, would be writer, thirsty for knowledge, Radio Solution solver on Radio 1116 4BC and so much more!!
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38 Responses to I Don’t think I’m a Fail Whale

  1. Hi Annie, I didn’t participate in the #shutdown because I tend to be at the ‘talking’ end of things. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect those who did take part. I agree with you that supporting charity is important – no matter how you do it. You seem to do it the most important way, by giving not just money, but of your time and your self. Don’t let the tweets get you down. Allison

  2. Very well written, Annie and I agree with you. Recently I blogged about the MS Society and its Readathon and Christmas Cards. It happens to be a charity I support, but I also support the Red Cross and Salvos. It sounds like you do more than your fair share and are very conscious of making a contribution. How, exactly we each go about it – that should really be our choice entirely.

  3. Liz K says:

    Annie, you know you’re not a bad person & you shouldn’t have let a tweet get you down… I didn’t participate in the Shutdown for good reasons, others did, again for good reasons. I’m with you on all this, even though I wasn’t with you on the Shutdown 🙂

    • Kylie L says:

      Liz, if it was just a tweet that would be fine. There were many, many tweets, and some name-calling- that is what Annie (and I) are responding to. I agree with Melbourne Mumma that it should be an individual’s choice entirely what causes they support. What I don’t agree with is that others should have a go at those who are supporting a cause or campaign they might not agree with. That sucks.

  4. Kylie L says:

    Great post Annie. I was surprised and saddened by all the knockers on Twitter yesterday- the ones tweeting #socialmediafail or saying the campiagn was “useless” or emailing/DMing me to let me know just how ridiculous I was for taking part. Even got called ‘smug’ this morning because I said it had raised $ and awareness in a 140 character tweet. There are lots of reasons I got involved, including being asked to by two parents I know who have autistic children, but at the end of the day this is my bottom line: Before the #shutdown idea/campaign, no-one in my tweetstream was mentioning autism. Not a one; not any of the knockers who called the campaign “inappropriate”, “stupid” or “a social media FAIL”. Now lots of people are talking about it.
    Participation in #shutdown wasn’t compulsory. The event raised much needed funds for AEIOU. I absolute respect the right of people to disagree with the campiagn and to choose not to participate… but I can’t undesrtand some of the sheer nastiness that went on, simply because some people, with all the good intentions in the world, were trying to raise some money and the topic.

  5. Great post that really gets to the “heart” of charity and support for good causes.

    It saddened me to hear that you of all people went to bed with a heavy heart when all you did was support yet another good cause and help to spread awareness. I really don’t know of a more “charitable” person with a bigger heart than you Ms Annie – so hold your head high and keep on being you, doing exactly what you do and have always done. Helping make this world a better place and filling it with positive thoughts and lots of support for lots and lots of people who need it.

    The world could really do with more Annie’s. That’s what I know for sure! That is all…

  6. MsKymOG says:

    Annie, you summed up what I was feeling last night when I got back on Twitter. I do not, for one minute, pretend to know what families affected by autism go through on a daily basis, so I had no idea it would upset people. And as I don’t have daily experience or connection with autism, I too haven’t had it on my radar often, and definitely not often enough.

    The Communication Shutdown brought it into focus, in a way that captured my attention because of the time I spend on social media, and the enjoyment I get out of it.

    I can see why overanalysis could find fault with the method, but as you say, other fundraising activities could also be seen to be insensitive if you’re looking for a reason- is Red Nose Day making light of SIDS? Is Movember taking the piss out of men’s cancer issues?

    The fight for charitable donations is huge, and each and every cause has to invent something new, that stands out from the crowd, to gain the attention, the discussion, and most importantly the dollars to help those affected.

    I’m truly sorry if people whose family is affected by autism found the activity distasteful. But I, too, have chosen not to feel that it was a waste of time – my donation alone would not have happened without the Shutdown.

    And Annie – you are amazing! Your generosity, caring and amazing spirit does affect so many people (and I’ve only known you for such a short time). I don’t think ANYBODY could ever accuse you of not caring, or not being charitable. I only wish more of us could do as much as you!

  7. Annie I hope I didn’t make you feel like this … I tweeted and blogged about the shut down. It was a personal choice and for me, I didn’t support the shutdown, but I wasn’t against it either. I would certainly not judge anyone who did support it. I think it did the job of getting people talking and raising awareness, so either way, it was a win-win. I feel sad that people can be so judgemental about others. You are a wonderful, giving person, who was supporting a very good cause. And as a mum of a child on the spectrum, I think you for that. xo

    • Annieb25 says:

      Honey it wasn’t one particular tweet. It was a general vibe of disdain for those who shut down. It may not have been visible as tweeting was going on, but for those who signed back in afterwards it was not what we expected (well me anyway). I personally believe those who shut down had good intentions just as those who stayed online and at the end of it all Autism was the winner. Awareness and cash were both raised and that is key. We are all doing good, however we choose to do it. I’m all for differences of opinions, that’s healthy and needed, but judgemental is a different beast. My message with this post was just a reminder that we shouldn’t be so judgemental. I hope it doesn’t get taken the wrong way. xx

    • Annieb25 says:

      Oh and I thought the fact that the shut down made so many people write some great posts was awesome. Another win xx

  8. sass says:

    Somehow I feel this post is generated about some of the tweets I wrote?
    If it is, then i really didn’t mean to upset anyone regarding the communication shutdown.

    As you know, my brother has Aspergers along with a handful of other things that makes his (and our) life at times, difficult.
    Whilst I don’t deny that the communication shut down generated charity that is very much needed, I do believe that instead of shutting down for the day, spending the day tweeting/facebooking about Autism/ASD would have raised more awareness.
    I read a couple of comments by people saying that because I was talking about it, at least the cause was doing the right thing. I was confused by this as I wasn’t participating in the shutdown at all.
    I guess, what I’m trying to say is, that if all the people that spent the day away from their social media sites tweeted, facebooked, blogged, about ASD there would have been hundreds of thousands of people being made aware of ASD.

    Myself personally, I don’t understand silent support. How can one raise awareness by not saying anything at all? That’s not helping anyone. What I was concerned with (and expressed my concerns on Kerri’s post) was that some of the people that were participating in the shutdown were going about their days and would then resume their tweeting without even thinking about autism. I didn’t mean anyone specifically, just concerned that there would be people just going along with it for the sake of everyone else is doing it too.
    My views could be because ASD has touched my life on a personal level, perhaps I was thinking too much in to and also took what my brother had said too deeply…

    I was originally going to take part in the shutdown for communication and mentioned so to my brother. At first it sounded like a good idea, but soon realised that it wouldn’t help my brother. I donate regularly, when we lived in the UK I helped out at my brothers school and will be using my teaching degree to work in a special education school.
    I don’t think that I am a bad person because I didn’t participate in the communication shut down, I don’t think that you are a bad person because you did participate.


    I didn’t mean to offend anyone with any of my tweets at all yesterday, if I did, I’m very sorry.
    Sass 😦

    • Annieb25 says:

      Oh lovely Sass, I know you didn’t. As I said above to Bronnie, it wasn’t one particular tweet, it was the whole vibe. I read your tweets about your brother and my heart breaks. I read Kerri’s post last night and my heart broke. I read a number of blog posts about it late last night and this morning & I totally get how devastating Autism is. I think Autism was the big winner yesterday. No matter how people participated. My post was more to say, hey lets all work together and not make people feel bad for what do or don’t do. The world is a big place where we can all fit in. Still ur #BFF xxx

  9. BundyNelle says:

    Oh Annie, you aren’t terrible at all! And I am terribly sorry that comments upsetted you when all you were doing was trying to do a good deed.

    I don’t go near any ‘charitable’ participation when to comes to Twitter or Facebook. Firstly I would be forever changing my avatar or adding ribbons or not using the darn thing at all ;0) Secondly I am sick and tired of the narks out there in cyberworld who do go on the attack when you are trying to do something good. I’ve just gone back to the simple days of putting money in a tin or envelope, where no one can ‘have a go’ at me. But isn’t that sad though??? I’m more or less letting the ‘narks’ win but I won’t let them stop me giving.

    I hope that made sense, my 3yo’s natter is gnawing away at my thoughts LOL. Repeat after me Annie “I am not a terrible person”, “I am not a terrible person…’

  10. Wow, seems like I’ve missed quite a bit – I’ve hardly been on Twitter lately due to lots of projects on the boil and simply because I’ve had to put all my focus and energy into them.

    Anyway, all I wanted to say was this – Annie, you are truly one of the most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of *meeting*. Your kindness isn’t contrived, it comes from your heart. So many seem to have an ‘agenda’. You don’t.

    So, bugger anyone that tries to drag you down. I have no idea what people have said, or even anything about the ‘shut-down’ but I do know that people only attack when they feel threatened for one reason or another. You keep doing what you do so well – be yourself xo

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  12. There is a wonderful episode of the highly underrated Sports Night which I think is apt for your thoughts, Annie. Dan, one of the sports presenters, on a good income, is trying to decide which charity he should support. Whether to give a lot to one, or small amounts to many. At the same time they are covering an ascent of Mt Everest on the show. Dan asks many people for advice, but finally it is one of the producers who tells him: “Two guys have ascended five miles into the sky. They walked up a wall of ice, and are preparing to knock on the door of Heaven itself. There’s really no end to what we can do. You know what the trick is?… Get in the game.”

    I think it doesn’t matter how we come to support our fellow human beings, whether we tweeted or didn’t tweet, whether we give regularly to one cause that has special meaning or just when things come up on our radar, just as long as we get in the game when we can and in whatever way that we can. Every moment we take to consider others, be it by trying to better understand their life, to giving of our time or money to make their life better, is a moment well-lived.

  13. Hey Annie, Brilliant post. I didn’t do #shutdown. Honestly, because I have no spare cash to donate, this is not something that effects me directly, and I totally forgot about it.

    But we do what we can. Should we do nothing, if we can’t do everything? Should we do everything, to keep it fair? Life doesn’t work like that.

    I can see the point of people saying that #shutdown didn’t really help. Truly, the only reason I remembered it was on because Twitter was so quiet. But it raised awareness, and funds. In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t the best tactic, maybe talking would have been better than silence. But perhaps, also, doing something is better than nothing.

  14. Brilliant post – thank you – don’t think I’ll be going too far back in the twitterfeed then as I would feel exactly as you did.
    I was invited to participate by my cousin who works as a OT with kids who have Autism and Aspergers and she spends all day 5 days a week with them – so I trust that she will know what is a “good” way to donate and which is not.
    I don’t think I did anything wrong and I don’t think you did either.

  15. Maxabella says:

    Another BRILLIANT Annie post. I’m not even going to read the other comments before I put mine up there…. just in case I change my mind.

    For a long time I’ve been very disillusioned with Australian charities and charities in general. I don’t understand why there are so darn many of them. With the massive business costs associated with running what is effectively a business, wouldn’t they be better served to band their resources together?

    They won’t. Why not? Because ‘only those who are affected by x, y or z can truly understand what we’re going through’. It’s such a smug, exclusive approach to dealing with an issue and it pisses me off royally. So many charities, so little thought, really. The ‘shutdown’, the ‘shave’, the ‘red nose’, the ‘daffodil’, the ‘pink ribbon’, the ‘mo’ the… so many ways to cleverly raise awareness, but awareness of what exactly!?

    They want my money, but they don’t want to educate me enough so that I can better understand. What are you doing with the billions and billions of dollars that are collected each year, anyway? There’s no accountability and that bothers me a great deal.

    I have more to say, but I can’t go on. I just get so riled up by charities. Does that make me a bad person? Yes, yes it does. x

  16. Seraphimsp says:

    Great post Annie. Having been on the receiving end of a backlash related to a campaign I was involved with earlier in the year, I understand exactly what you are saying. I didn’t participate in the shutdown because I just didn’t get it. As a teacher who has worked with kids on the spectrum of ASD it didn’t make sense to stop talking or communicating. HOWEVER I thought the success of the campaign lay in the fact it raised awareness, it got people talking about it and it raised some much needed funds. At the end of the day we’re all just doing our best and really, that’s excellent.

  17. would that charities did not need to fund raise.
    Would that the world and all the people in it were kinder and gentler…

  18. LovelyWife says:

    I’m sorry it has come to this. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, whether to donate & participate, or not, to a cause. To have this nasty backlash is ridiculous. Aspbergers affects my family directly and I’m just glad people are talking about it for once rather than ignoring it.

  19. Rusty Hoe says:

    The politics of charity. Gotta love them. No matter the disease or disorder, there are always differing points of view as to what is the appropriate strategy to raise awareness or funds. It seems, at times, that we get so mired up in those politics we lose sight of the original aim. I’m mixed in my reaction to this particular event, I can see both points of view. What I don’t understand is why criticism is aimed at those who tried to do the right thing. Judging or criticising those who participated only serves to put them off supporting a cause again.

    As someone living with an obscure and disabling disorder with little to no public face I get angry when people start criticising those who attempt to help. Within my disorder there are clear camps and there is often criticism of others. It’s frustrating, and worse, hampers any attempt to start to build awareness, let alone raise money for research, of which there is little. The way I react to my disorder is different to how others react (as I have found out thanks to some delightful comments on my blog). The way I would raise awareness is also different. However, I welcome anyone who attempts to raise awareness. Trying to keep an eye on the big goal seems very difficult in an age where disease politics and media have become big business.

    Don’t beat yourself up over this. You didn’t design this campaign. With any such campaigns you depend on the groups involved to have the best idea of how to represent their disorder. You did what you thought was the right thing and you clearly have a strong social/charitable focus. Your heart was in the right place and that’s what counts.

  20. Naomi says:

    I did participate. I did blog about it. I spent my day yesterday with a child with Autism. I then spent the evening in a seminar about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and diagnosis. I don’t want a medal it’s just part of my job.
    I received some tweets about why I should not join in, but for me, it was about raising awareness. I am still surprised by the number of people who know little about ASD. I am sick of explaining that not everyone with Autism is like rain man. I am sick of people telling me kids with Aspergers need a good smack and discipline. Really, in 2o10.
    The way I looked at the day was that it would make people at least think about what it would be like to not be able to communicate. Every time I thought of something to tweet, or put on face book I knew that for that day I could not. For some people every day they can not communicate. I do not think I was trivialising this by opting out of social media for a day.
    It was about raising awareness. Because from where I sit, there can be no real talk until people are aware of the disorder.
    Perhaps the campaign was a little clumsy… but at least is raised some awareness.

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  22. Bern Morley says:

    You’ve got a brilliant and beautiful way about you Annie and I know full well you would never do anything to hurt anyone for any reason.

    I’m surprised this got so out of hand and must admit I probably gave off the impression that I was shutting down for the day by saying to all of you guys that I would “see” you all on Tuesday, but I just meant you guys wouldn’t be around. It doesn’t matter, all that should matter is that awareness about Autism has been the result.

    I just think, with anything like this in the future, if someone wants to get involved, great, if not, that’s cool too. People all make their own decisions and judgement shouldn’t come into it.

    I guess I should have given this more thought having a son with Aspergers, but to be honest, when I look at Sam, I see Sam, not a son with Aspergers. I forget others don’t see him the same way and I need to get it through my head that the more people that understand this condition, the more chance Sam has of being treated better and hurt less as his life goes on.

    Is the answer shutting down or staying on? Who cares as long as we are all talking and learning.

    Love ya guts Annie

  23. anjwritesabout says:

    I heart you #thatisall

  24. Denyse Whelan says:

    Firstly Annie, you were the first person to genuinely communicate and befriend me here and for that generosity of spirit & kindness I can’t thank you enough.
    Secondly Annie, I can always count on you to “keep an eye” out for me as you are intuitively watching for changes in my Twitter patterns.
    Thirdly Annie, your sharing, teaching, helping, giving and embracing nature makes you, in my book, a really good person!

    So, I took part in the shutdown for a number of reasons:
    – to display my awareness of ASD and its many guises as I have been a school principal where two Autism Satellite classes were based & students were involved in many mainstream lessons and school activities
    – to help raise community awareness through social networking as many people who are in no way connected with children and adults within the ASD can have many erroneous thoughts about the various conditions & their ripple effect within families, classes and society.
    – to raise funds for the programs outlined by shutdown
    – to highlight for myself what each moment of every day must be like for my 9 year old grandson who is “high functioning, high IQ with Aspergers & other related conditions
    – to show strengthening support to his family, teachers, Carers who work with and for his benefit and also for all of those people unknown to me who are so affected.

    My personal reaction to the day was how much I missed my social media aspect of my daily communication. It gave me cause to think just how I would hate to be limited.

    As a result I “went back on” at about 3 hours from the end of the 24hours because I had missed it and I needed to communicate with some friends.

    Annie, you asked me “if I was OK?” today because you hadn’t seen much tweeting.
    YOU: noticed, thought, tweeted and waited, then responded THANKS I loved that you did, and will continue to do!!

    My position on criticism of the day/charities/who you help/should you help/which cause etc is that it is a PERSONAL choice so belittling others or name calling is NOT ON at all. E V E R..

  25. Jenny C says:

    Annie, great post. That is all. 😉

  26. Sometimes I think we are willing to ‘say’ things online, be it via twitter, FB or blog comments, which we would not actually say to someone face to face. Plus there is the fact that the way something is written, especially when it is limited to 140 characters, can so easily be misinterpreted, tone is not as well expressed in written form. I think both of these factors contribute to good people being hurt way to regularly in the online world. Which saddens me greatly.

  27. Jodi Gibson says:

    I will keep it simple.

    I think it is sad that anyone would judge or criticize something that is raising awareness, raising money and getting us talking about a cause. Any cause. We all contribute in the ways we can to things that are important to us or that resonate with us. No-one can support everything and everyone supports differently.

    If anyone is judging then they have lost the true focus and meaning of the cause.

  28. Girl Clumsy says:

    Missed the whole thing. Seems to be points for and against that particular type of campaign, but hell, if it raises awareness and cash, what they hey?

    I admire your fundraising and charitable efforts. I’m useless and hopeless.

    I was trying to raise money for the Red Cross and my theatre for #30before30. It’s been pretty poor. I’ve only made $100 in donations. While I realise I can’t really complain, it’s made me aware that people have particular donation habits/preferences.

    A dear friend of mine, who really loves my blog and whatnot, wanted to donate $10, but only donates to one charity. So he donated to that charity, rather than the ones I had picked. I was really upset by this. But I guess I can’t force people to do certain things with their money.

    Don’t feel bad about yourself, I feel too bad about myself pretty much all the time to think that you do too.

  29. Christie says:

    I don’t have anything more to add to these comments except, I wish you’d have more faith in how wonderful you are xx

  30. Thea says:

    Wow, I was away that day and missed all of this.
    Brillian post Annie, you are so right.
    Criticism of anyone trying to help or do good in any way is hardly charitable.

  31. Bottom line Annie is this, I think:-
    – Twitter is not an ideal place to have in depth discussion: it’s a great place to be social and share.
    – It’s out of line for tweeters to mock or criticise other people’s choices and motivations.
    – Even though we haven’t met, I would never question your motivations or decisions, because ‘knowing’ you remotely, I would trust they would always come from a good place.
    We are each the best and only true judge of why we do things.
    Heres’ my honest reaction to the shutdown -I thought about participating and then decided not to because I wanted to tweet about an event I was presenting at that evening. I thought about donating to the charity and then didn’t because I did not get around to it. I donate money in various places and volunteer my time to various places and I don’t think I need to justify my decisions to anyone else. I did see some of the tweets you are talking and I understand why you felt awful reading them. On the other hand, there were also people not participating and still writing about it with respect and insight.
    “It takes all kinds”, as they say – and your kind is beautiful. Don’t ever doubt that.

  32. I commented on the day about how I thought it would be good to have conversation rather than silence. How, not knowing a lot about autism, I would love for there to be a “blog for” or “tweet for” day so I could become more aware. Not at any moment would I pass judgement on those who chose silence. Whatever people chose to do that day worked because I made a point of finding out more and asking questions about an issue I know is close to so many. And I am sure there were many people like me out there. Whatever path people chose – it worked. Great post Annie – it kept discussion going. xx

  33. Well said, Annie.

    I didn’t join in, but not because I made a conscious decision not to.

    I kind of think that talking about it is important, but I think at the end of the day, the #shutdown actually drew attention to the cause and created discussion, so how could that be a bad thing?

    I don’t understand people who try to influence others to not join in and the like. It’s a personal decision, just like the decision to support certain charities is. Hubby and I have a number of charities we choose to support, and then sometimes if I’m out and about and people are collecting monies, I donate.

    However, one thing that Maxabella said really resonates with me: there are so many of them. I think because there are, it kind of overwhelms people, and people lose interest in donating. Also, something that has put Hubby and I off in the past is when people try to sell items for you to buy on the streets as a way of donating. Or you have to fill out a form to donate regularly etc, but when Hubby has tried to give them a cash donation instead (and a fairly substantial one) but they refuse it! “Oh no,” they say, “you have to buy [this] or fill out this form to donate [x] amount over the course of a year.”

    Why on earth are these people knocking back cash donations?!

    Anyhow, I didn’t see the tweets and I’m sorry they happened. Gosh Kylie – the fact that people were sending you DMs and the like! Unbelievable.

    One of my fave sayings is: Each to Their Own.

    RESPECT, people.


  34. Suzie G says:

    Oh boy, didn’t this get people talking?!

    So long as it is out there and people know what they are donating to/for, who cares if it is done by shutdown vs. talking? Money raised = cures or preventatives or more research.

    Most of my donations go towards Leukaemia because that is what my dad passed away from , or the Mater hospital in Brisbane (whether it be the children’s or adult’s) because that is where he was treated. However, if I see something in the street or get a phone call, I will rarely refuse. Like you, I don’t necessarily seek them out, but if I can give a few dollars, I think that maybe I am helping someone, even if it is too late for my own father or other’s that I have known..

    You are not a bad person Annie 🙂

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