Inspired? Or Are You Just Stealing?

imageWhile a large amount of my friends return to work today (with varying degrees of reluctance), I have the day off as it is a teacher training day which I’m not needed for. I’m grateful, not because I feel like I need to have more of a holiday (because, let’s face it, a holiday of any length is never enough), but more to try and get rid of the head cold that has plagued me on and off throughout the holiday period. Thankfully, I appear to be coming to the end of it, and after two weeks of coughing, losing my voice and feeling like my head is full of cotton wool I’ll be glad to see the back of it.

I took the opportunity to jump onto Twitter this morning – it’s always a fantastic way of catching up on missed posts from my favourite bloggers and I enjoy the views that I receive from sharing my own links with others.

However, one title in particular caught my eye, and my heart sank. I clicked on the link and discovered exactly what I expected – it was one of my posts. Except it wasn’t… it had been very carefully rewritten and reorganised with enough changes for it not to be immediately obvious, but without going into detail, I knew it was mine. Unfortunately, it’s been done in a way where I can’t call them out on it.

This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened – while I’ve been lucky over the years to not have my content directly stolen (and I’ve read many horror stories from those who have), there have been a number of occasions where I have published something, usually in the form of a How To or a listicle, only to find an almost identical post appear elsewhere on blogs that I know regularly follow Suzie Speaks within a day or so.

Of course, with millions of active blogs in the online world, I truly believe that many ideas have been exhausted to the point where there is now little that is completely new and original. Indeed, when I suffer from the dreaded Bloggers Block I seek ideas from others, crediting them in the process, and some of the most viewed posts on this blog are ones that have been written in response to or inspired by the work of fellow bloggers. And many have done the same the with me. I never mind that – in fact I find it hugely flattering. There have even been instances where another blogger and I have posted about the exact same topic at the same time, but the content has been completely different and we have laughed about the coincidence.

There are no set rules for blogging – what works for one person may not be as successful for another – and the etiquette used by many bloggers is wide and varied depending on how long they have been writing, but what should be common sense above all is this:

If you’re going to start a blog, make it your own. If you’re stuck for ideas, feel free to be inspired, but don’t copy something, change it around and claim that it is yours. Credit where credit is due. Have some integrity.

Note: the same rules apply to images, and after reading a rather eye-opening and frightening post by a blogger who was sued for using an image that wasn’t hers without permission, I will be removing those that I aren’t mine from this blog…

What about you guys? Have you had content used and re-edited by someone else?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.

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Bloggers Behaving Badly

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Last month I published a post about the idea of ‘Blog Envy,’ which discussed ways in which we naturally feel envious of other blogs, and bloggers. During the comments that followed it was suggested that I examine the opposite – content that could be considered to be poor. While it’s an interesting idea, it’s far too controversial for my liking – the beauty of the blogging world is that it is an open forum to discuss whatever subject the author chooses, and there is no right or wrong way to do so.

However, it did get me thinking about the bloggers behind the posts. While I’ve had predominantly hugely positive experiences with the community, the longer I spend in the blogosphere the more I notice behaviour that I would contribute to what is often referred to as ‘The Dark Side’ of blogging, and I’ve spent the last few weeks collating examples. Continue reading

Blogging Etiquette and Politics: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I normally stay away from becoming involved in controversial discussion and arguments, but something annoyed me this morning.

I’ve only been blogging since April. When I started I hadn’t a clue about the process and I have spent a large amount of time building my blog into something that I’m proud of. As my following has grown I have started to get to know others a little more and I’ve always been very lucky to receive lovely comments from them and to my knowledge haven’t been subjected to any personal attacks. There have been a few occasions where someone has disagreed with what I’ve written, but they’ve usually done so in a polite and courteous way. WordPress, in my mind, was very much a fun, supportive and happy place to be and I have always felt safe here.

However, over the last few months I have started to notice some of the ‘dark side’ of the blogging world, particularly when discussing stats. Continue reading