• Maree Jones

Copycat Social: The importance of citing your sources

  • What IS original content, anyway?

  • Is any idea truly original?

  • It's not that big of a deal.

  • Everyone does it, even celebrities.



Copycat social copy: does it really matter?


One healthy social media habit I encourage anyone to follow is to get in the practice of citing ANYTHING that isn't your 100% original content.


What does this include:

  1. "Popular" or well-known sayings and phrases. If it feels like you've heard it before, do a quick Google search to see if you can find the source. Chances are, it's not your original thought.

  2. Cartoons, graphics, and other illustrations that you did not create. Reposting without attribution is hurtful to the original artist and, in many cases, could affect the income they generate through online sales and promotions.


What does plagiarism look like on social media?


Recently, big-name influencers came under fire for plagiarizing phrases and sentences, and even ideas, that they didn't originally come up with. What's the big deal, you ask? They presented these pieces of content as their own. No attribution. They stole content.


If that isn't alarming to you, consider this: many of the top viral Tweets and LinkedIn posts that are probably on your newsfeed are likely stolen. Don't believe me? The next time you see a post that you feel like you've seen before, search for it natively on each platform. You might see several iterations of the same idea, published over and over again by different people.


It may not seem important for this to happen on social media, but where do we draw the line?

- work presentations?

- published books?

- resumes?



Why it's a big deal:

  1. Citing is an ethical practice. Stealing content shows that you have sub-standard practices, values, and beliefs when it comes to social media.

  2. Your credibility is always at stake on social media channels. There are people who will find you and expose you as a content thief or accuse you of plagiarism.

  3. It's amateur hour. If you can't come up with something original, it's bush league. Educate yourself on best practices to look more polished.


Why it is MORE beneficial to credit someone for their idea or copy -


If you can, tag your inspirational source in the post you share. Chances are MORE people will see the post, because someone they follow is mentioned. There's also a chance of the original source seeing the post, interacting with it, and giving you some serious social media clout.


Attribution on social media isn't only ethical, but it's also part of a smart social media strategy and a healthy social media habit to embrace.