Social media is a great thing. It is a lynchpin to any good platform that our content be shared. Our mamas all taught us that sharing is a good thing. But when it comes to sharing intellectual property like blog posts and the like, there is a right and a wrong way to go about it.
Retweeting links? Go for it. If you wanna tack on a short line about why whatever you’re linking to is awesome, that’s even better.
Sharing posts on Facebook, on your own page and your friends’. Cool. By default Facebook grabs a little excerpt, maybe a picture, and links back to the original post.
Adding somebody’s link to your mashup of awesome, this is a great tactic. Some of the best content I’ve read on the internet has come from mashups.
Pinning something on your board at Pinterest with a nice line about what you like about it. We love when you do this. And that’s how Pinterest is designed to work (now anyway since that brouhaha where people were posting whole articles/recipes/posts).
Reblogging on Tumblr, which does a fantastic job of attribution, so you can chase something back to the source.
It’s reblogging on other blogging platforms where the trouble often starts. Why? Because people often don’t do it correctly. The entire point of reblogging is to share someone else’s content in a way that gives the source credit and will drive traffic back to that original source. So all the people who post someone else’s entire post are not really reblogging. They’re plagiarizing.
In most cases they don’t know it. They’re trying to help, to share. And they get really put out when you ask them to take your content down, not understanding why we are upset that they want to share our content. You all know how I feel about plagiarism, so it’s often hard for me to hang on to my temper in these cases. But I add a few more chains and politely explain that the CORRECT way to reblog is to post an excerpt of the original post and link back to the original source. Sometimes it makes a difference, sometimes it doesn’t.
I’m not a fan of reblogging in general (outside of sites like Tumblr, which are designed entirely around reblogging) because too many people use it, not as a means to share, but as a lazy blogging mechanism. The latest case where I contacted someone about my content was someone who had a blog that was nothing BUT reblogs. What the heck is the point of that? Blogging is about creating YOUR OWN content. Regurgitating a bunch of other people’s stuff, even if you think it’s great, is not a blog. But that’s departing from my point.
If you’re going to share someone else’s content, make sure to do it right and give credit where credit is due. As I tell my students, it’s far better to over cite something than not cite it at all.