We live in a world powered by instant gratification – especially in regards to content and social media. The problem with our growing need to be informed is the quality of content. The internet is a melting pot of ideas – if you can think of it, you can find it online. This is a great resource but when it comes to plagiarism, the lines can be a bit blurry. A few weeks ago, Buzzfeed editor Benny Johnson was fired for plagiarism. This got me thinking about how easy it is to repost, or reuse content that is not technically yours to use. It is hard to distinguish the difference between social sharing, and plagiarism, especially in the era of social media and content factories like Buzzfeed. I have put together 3 simple rules to help you avoid plagiarism:
- Cite Your Sources: You learned this in school, but now more than ever is a time to get in the habit of always citing everything you reference. If you are using a picture, include the original source. If you are quoting a Tweet, use the original source. This may be extra work upfront, but will save you from plagiarizing in the long run. If you need a refresh on how to cite, this is a good tool.
- Be Original: This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s not always easy to accomplish. If you see an idea, try and build off of it. Not only will you avoid plagiarizing, you will also offer your readers something new and different.
- Use Your Resources: There are tons of resources out there to help you ensure you are not stealing someone else’s words. Here is a simple tool that allows you to copy and paste your text and scan for plagiarism: The plagiarism/ social media lines are blurry, but with a little extra effort this can be avoided.