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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#BloggerBlackmail: It’s Not About the Macarons!

imageMy Twitter feed lit up this afternoon with hundreds of bloggers jumping in to offer their opinions on the #bloggerblackmail trending hashtag. It began with a post from Anges de Sucre, an award winning sweet shop in London who recounted a negative experience with a blogger, who had appeared to demand £100 worth of treats in return for a positive review. When this wasn’t given, the blogger posted several negative reviews across her social media accounts, insulting the macarons in particular.

Initially, the fact that an argument about free macarons was trending seemed a little silly to me. I’ve eaten many in my time – some have been wonderful, some have tasted like sawdust (no, I’m not explaining how I know this), and some have been so expensive that I’ve almost cried and had to consider taking out a small loan in order to pay for them. However, a macaron is a macaron. Continue reading