With the sheer amount of data online and the ability to share it with a click, the expression, “give credit where credit is due,” is becoming a critical tenet of online content creation. The Internet makes it easy for anyone to simply lift content from any site and use it for their own purposes with a copy and paste. Unfortunately, many folks don’t realize that this act is plagiarism, plain and simple.
It’s important to realize that the concept of plagiarism isn’t some old-fashioned idea that is no longer relevant in the social media age. Repurposing ideas, research, visuals, and so on, is fine — as long as you are crediting the original creator of this intellectual property. And believe me: It’s a lot better to properly credit your source material than to get into an embarrassing confrontation with someone after you unintentionally plagiarism them on your blog.
Here are a few simple guidelines to follow to make sure you aren’t succumbing to accidental plagiarism:
Use Quotation Marks. If you use someone else’s thoughts or are referencing a quote – such as from a spokesperson — make sure you provide quotation marks around what the person said, and be sure to provide information about who said it.
Add Links. Hyperlinking is perhaps the most common form of attribution. It enables your readers to see that you are using another information source to support the validity of your content. If you are referencing an entire study or research paper and providing just a couple statistics, hyperlinking enables your readers to access the body of work if they are interested in learning more.
Paraphrasing is Plagiarizing. News flash: Changing a couple words around and using a thesaurus to replace three words in a paragraph is still plagiarizing. If you are referencing someone else’s thoughts of any kind, you must attribute the source.
When it comes to content creation, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and remember: Unless you created it, it’s not yours.