NAUGHTY OR NICE: Credit Where it’s Due

Note: this week, I’ll be examining trends in social media and/or philanthropy and attributing a “naughty” or “nice” rating to them. This is the fifth and (thankfully) final installment.

Pardon my French, but Twitter is one big circle jerk.

Maybe that’s overly crude, but I think you know what I mean. A particularly interesting or valuable link can be shared dozens, sometimes even hundreds or thousands of time. When you follow many people in a specific sphere of influence, it often seems like the same people are sharing the same links from the same websites over and over again. Except there’s a major difference in how some of us share links, and even though it can feel like there’s no law on the “Wild West Internet,” there’s one rule that too many people have no problem breaking.

If you didn’t write it, credit the person who did. No exceptions.

Let’s examine how a specific link was shared by two different Twitter accounts today:

5 Social Media Articles to Unwrap and Enjoy Today j.mp/uJtYwn via @pushingsocial

— Stanford Smith (@pushingsocial) December 23, 2011

Stanford Smith writes for (and runs?) Pushing Social. He wrote the article and Tweeted the link, including his own handle. Was that redundant? Perhaps…but perhaps not when you consider that Michael Corley read Stanford’s post and thought it was valuable enough to Tweet WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION.

I have nothing against Michael Corley and feel a little bad for calling him out like this. Michael, if this gets back to you, I hope you realize two things: 1) it’s not personal; and 2) it’s unlikely that anyone besides the two of us know about this blog post.

I realize that 140 characters is a significant limit, but there’s always room to credit an author. Sometimes you want to squeeze an editorial comment into your Tweet, but I promise, your audience does not appreciate your personal opinion nearly as much as the writer appreciates getting recognized for his or her efforts. In fact, I believe that leaving out the author (or at least, the website) from your Tweet is akin to plagiarism.

That’s right, I said it. Plaigiarism. It’s an ugly word, huh?

Image copywright is likely owned by Fox and/or Matt Groening. But who cares, right? It's the internet. I invented Bart Simpson!

I urge you to remember this lesson the next time you share a link on Twitter. Writing is a cumbersome, often unrewarding task. Even if you’re not technically claiming credit for someone else’s work, an unattributed link *feels* like that to the author. Believe me, linking to an article without crediting its creator is a naughty, naughty no-no.

It’s the season of giving. If you think something is valuable enough to share, don’t be a Scrooge and deprive credit from its source.

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Whatever and however you celebrate, I hope you and your family have a warm, safe and happy holiday season. Thanks for reading!

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Previously in “Naughty or Nice”:
12/19 – Listing your Klout score on your resume

12/20 – Printing your face on a business card

12/21 – Social Media Interns

12/22 – Breaking a Promise

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One thought on “NAUGHTY OR NICE: Credit Where it’s Due

  1. Pingback: The Social Media Chutzpah Hit List | matthewsm1th.com

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