The Ironic Case of Social Gratitude
by: Kyle Jones
Everyone’s time is valuable. It matters not your chosen profession because we are all allotted a certain amount of time in life. It is how we choose to spend that time which defines us. And, as has been mentioned on this blog before, saying thanks – or showing gratitude – is important. It can only be seen as ironic when a chosen name for a website includes the word gratitude when the actions of those running show the complete opposite. This is what happened in The Ironic Case of Social Gratitude.
A blogger normally spends a lot of time crafting a blog post regardless of the chosen topic. Bloggers want a voice and seek the conversation that is the result of reader comments. I, like many others with their own blogs, spend a lot of time working on the content I create. I attempt to show gratitude for those who serve as inspiration and give recognition when I use other authors’ posts as reference.
A few months back I took a blog post that I really enjoyed and posted it on this site; however, the following steps were taken prior to the post:
- Requested and received permission to use the post from the post author.
- Attributed the author by recognizing her in the post.
- Attributed the author by including a picture of the author in both the featured image and as an image within the post.
- Provided information about the author and links to her sites.
This author was Robin Schooling of HR Schoolhouse.com and my actions above would help make sure that Robin may say “yes” again should I ask the same in the future.
Unfortunately, No greater insult can be given to an author when the work is taken by someone else, even word-for-word, and posted as their own giving no credit to the real author.
WhoDunnit? The Act of Plagiarism
According to Dictionary.com plagiarism is defined as:
an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language
and thoughts of another author without authorization
and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own,
as by not crediting the original author.
WhoPostit? Blog Plagiarism
Taking credit for the work of someone else isn’t new and has been around since the first story was told to the first audience. The violation of ethical writing occurs when an “author” – and I use this term very loosely – takes the words of someone else and passes those works off as their own. It is a lazy form of “writing” and disrespect all the work done by the person who actually wrote the piece.
I’ve recall reading a Facebook post from a contact who is a well-respected and well-known HR blogger. Someone had taken this person’s work and posted it as their own with just a few changes to the sentence structure. My thought was, this would not happen to me as I am A/not well-known and B/would not most likely write something that someone would want to steal.
The Victim – Google Reader: Thank You for Shutting Down
I wrote a post last Sunday about the shutdown of Google Reader and how it caused me to discover Feedly. Then, the next morning, I was happy to discover that the article was featured on SocialMediaToday.com. The good folks at SMT provided me a huge favor by even carrying the post and, as proper, they listed my name as the author.
I awoke today to a very different discovery.
The Perp – SocialGratitude.com
An email arrived from someone informing me that my work had been used by someone else without giving me author credit. My first thought would be the same as the example above – my work with a few minor changes. This was not the case as the author, “Jason”, took the post word-for-word INCLUDING an error. You see, I made a note to myself to define RSS when I wrote the first draft and accidentally left it as RSS (name) when I first wrote it. I later corrected this error but “Jason” kept the original intact.
I find it ironic that a site named social GRATITUDE.com doesn’t show GRATITUDE to the author whose work they take as their own. For the sake of properly authoring, the image from Social Gratitude is taken from SocialGratitude.com as a screenshot by me.
It would be completely different if the post in question had been referenced by “Jason” or had been used in the entirety but that it would have attributed me as the author. Instead, my work was passed off as the work of someone else and I can only image how many others may be victim to the same.
I attempted to comment but was unable to do so on the site. Their Twitter page has not been updated consistently and neither has the Facebook page. The LinkedIn icon directs you to post an update referring to their page. There is a toll-free number that I have not called but am almost not inclined to do so. There are too many things that look suspicious about this site and, based on “Jason”‘s actions, I find them to be examples of those who I would not wish to do business.
The Victim, Part II – Has This Happened To You?
Have you ever had your own work stolen by another? If so, what did you do? How did it make you feel?