Sharing is Caring – Especially When You Credit Your Original Source

Four Tips to Keep in Mind When Sharing Content Via Social Media

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I think I was about five years old when I got caught committing my first (and from what I can remember to be my only) crime. My mother and I had been walking through the aisles of our local grocery store and as she turned her back I took my chances and snatched a Tootsie Roll from the candy counter. I clearly wasn’t the smoothest of five year olds, because the deli clerk immediately ratted out my devious act to my mother, who then, took me by the hand, made me spit out the piece of candy and apologize profusely.

Luckily this particular grocery store was pretty forgiving and didn’t lock me up in the slammer, but they did instill a very simple, yet important lesson in my mind – don’t steal.

Fast forward 20 years of my life to my career in marketing, where this story still sticks out in my mind, but in regards to the difference of stealing and sharing online content.

It’s funny, with the entire hub about sharing content via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and your company’s blog – people seem to forget their seventh grade English lesson on plagiarism. So in lieu of this, here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are recycling information that may not necessarily be “yours.”

Publishing – Although it may not be a book, magazine article, etc., remember every time you “post” a new piece of information on your social media accounts, you are publishing public content – something that anyone and everyone with a computer or smart device can potentially access with just a few clicks of a mouse or swipes of a finger.

Pictures count, too – If you’re really working on grabbing the attention of your readers, you’re most likely implementing images into your content. Although this is a great a tactic, remember, if it’s not a picture you or your company took, you need to give credit to the provider. Otherwise, it’s just like five-year-old me stealing my Tootsie Roll from the candy counter.

Twitter – It’s becoming pretty apparent that plagiarized information is popping up throughout all social media platforms – but keep an eye out for Twitter, especially when retweeting. Sure, someone may have provided a really witty 140-character blurb and you want to share it with all of your followers. That’s fine and all, but somewhere within those 140 characters you need to make sure you’re crediting the real author instead of portraying yourself as the solo, lyrical genius.

When in doubt, give a shout outHere’s what I want you to get from this. We all know there is an endless amount of information on the Internet, and a great way to gain followers is to share useful information. But, if you are going to share, make sure you cite who is the original source. Go with your gut. If you don’t think you have properly refurbished the information into your own words, then give a shout out to the original author. It never hurts to demonstrate where you are getting valuable information from.

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