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Social media etiquette rule # 1; Give credit where credit is due

Posted on May 10, 2013 by William Ruzvidzo

This post is inspired by an incident that occurred earlier this week when I discovered that a post I wrote a few weeks ago entitled “ Why introverts make the best social media managers “, was repurposed without any credit or mention of my work. Could it just be a coincidence that the title, a lot of the main ideas, and the copy and language used in that post are similar to mine? I asked several people to read the two posts carefully and they all agreed that my post indeed had been repurposed.

Naturally, I was offended and I addressed the writer and the company she works for on Twitter and also left a comment on her post asking for an explanation. Not only was I annoyed that my content had been used without giving any credit to me, but also disappointed that as a fellow professional who works in social media, the writer essentially failed to follow one of the basic rules of social media etiquette; give credit where credit is due.

Back in university, we’re taught as students that any mention of another person’s work or ideas without referencing them is considered plagiarism and can get you suspended. In other circles, this offence is severely reprehensible and can even get you fired.

We’re all inspired by someone or something and with so much information out there online, it’s virtually impossible not to see or read something that influences you. In my case, I had read a book by Susan Cain entitled “ Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking ”. As an introvert myself, I really enjoyed reading her book and felt inspired to write a post describing how the traits that introverts have, are perfectly suited to the work that social media managers do. I also credited Susan for inspiring me.

On social media following simple rules like back linking and trackbacking on blogs and even a simple mention of a source of inspiration really goes a long way. On Twitter too, you can use RT’s and MT’s and the word “via” before a Twitter handle to properly credit someone. And on Facebook you can ‘@ mention” someone or simply hit the share button.

They say imitation is the best from of flattery so I guess I should be happy that my post struck enough of a chord that it influenced another introvert to use my content. But I also put a lot of thought and effort in my work and even when my ideas aren’t original, I still aim to be creative with the way I write and I always acknowledge my sources of inspiration.

At the end of the day, I believe that as social media and community managers, writers, bloggers and marketers, we should all show each other respect, acknowledge each others work and give each other credit where credit is due. It’s the correct thing to do.

While on the subject, I highly recommend reading Hubspots guide on ‘ How Not to Steal People’s Content on the Web ‘. It’s a must read for all internet marketers.

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