My #1 Pet Peeve
When I speak, I try SO hard to give credit where credit is due. I cite my sources, I give referrals, I pay it forward. There is a lot of good content out there, and I realize those authors and speakers have worked diligently to make that content their own, and I feel that making sure they get credit for those efforts is important–even if I’ve never met them. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to remember where I picked up this nugget or that tidbit, but I’m quick to confess that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. I didn’t get here on my own.
Since I try to hard to reference where other people’s work intersects with mine, I get really irritated when other people don’t mention where my work intersects with theirs. Original content is hard to come by. My brain works AROUND THE CLOCK to come up with good, original, content. When someone swipes something I’ve written or spoken and claims it as their own, it irritates the living daylights out of me. Bottom line: I believe in giving credit where credit is due.
Think of it this way: it’s the same thing as infringing on design copyrights. Pretty big deal, huh?
I’m not a big proponent of “taking” credit. Taking credit, in my mind, shatters credibility and wastes energy. Shouting, “Hey, that’s mine!” sounds like a little kid and takes a lot of effort. I remind myself that effort is placed in generating more unique content. Yes, new content that will probably get ripped off as well.
Creatives gotta create.
Question for the jury: as content creators, both visual and verbal, what are your opinions and expectations on the concept of giving credit where credit is due? Do you cite sources of inspiration or hide them? Do you feel like it adds credibility or detracts from credibility when others cite their sources?
Edited to add: I’ve already received several emails from people saying, Oh my gosh! I used your work here and I didn’t cite you! NO WORRIES. I think the point is, if someone ever credited that work directly to you, you’d probably say, “Oh, I didn’t say that originally. So & so did.” I realize there is some gray area here, and I didn’t mean to get the whole creative world walking on eggshells this morning–we all slip up on this sometimes. It’s the attitude of the heart that counts. But thanks for the great comments! It has already been a great discussion!
This is my #1 pet peeve as well. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve spent all of my full time working life in academia – both teaching (k-12, now college) and as a student. I’ve been in school so long (I’m working on my Ph.D. now) that I have it burned into my brain to give credit where credit is due – in fact – it’s something I’m petrified of not doing correctly for school papers, articles, etc…, because there can be very serious implications if I don’t – even if I didn’t do it correctly accidentally – intent doesn’t necessarily matter in all circumstances.
I believe that in all areas of writing, speaking, etc…, citing a source is not only necessary, but admirable. Reading someone’s blog who has a quote in his/her post that I’ve seen before but isn’t cited (or for that matter, quotes aren’t placed around the lifted text), agitates me because I know the source is not the blog author. I think (hope?) a lot of the time that this lack of citation is simple oversight, not intentionally “stealing” someone’s content, but you never know. Also, reading someone’s posts that give correct attribution often make me think that that person is well-read/well-versed in his or her field and I’m more likely to want to work with them.
Final thought, I know this might not be relevant in blogging, but did you know you can cite yourself? So for example, if you gave a talk recently where you shared some original thought/idea, etc…, you can even reference that talk in your writing, for example “I spoke about yada yada at yada yada (Rysavy, August 2013 – link to presentation, article, etc…). One day when I’m hopefully a significantly published author, I’ll have to do cite my previous work where relevant, or I could face plagiarism charges.
I had no idea one could cite themselves Monica. Good to know!
Cool, right? 🙂 P.S. It helps with SEO for your website as well if the content happens to be posted on your site (that’s why I started pages for my publications and presentations).
Monica, awesome thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing! I also try to adopt the “simple oversight” approach–we can’t all remember everything that we take in! And thanks for the tip about citing yourself! Good to know!
You’re welcome! It’s an interesting topic and am happy to see discussion around it.
I’m with you. There has been such an explosion on the ease of publishing (and I consider posting a blog post, a tweet, a photograph, a piece of art- it’s all “publishing” in the broadest sense of the word) so many have become sloppy in giving credit and citing work.
I realized how this was affecting me when I was writing and knew the idea ruminating in my mind was as a result of someone I heard but for the life of me I couldn’t remember who it was- I’ve started becoming more deliberate about writing down who I ‘m listening to/reading when I take notes and referencing ideas, pictures, etc.
It is a respect issue. Most of us are compilations of a lot of different people we have learned from over the years. I think it is a beautiful thing to acknowledge those who have shaped our minds, our hands and our art.
I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.
Melissa, thank you for your thoughts. I think I’m pretty good about remembering where I heard things, but I could take a lead from you and definitely keep better notes! You are so right–there is so much publishing happening on a daily basis! (I think Schmidt from Google reported that there is more information being published each day than there was in the history of the entire world before 2003!) And you’re right–it IS a respect issue. Thank you again!
I agree that it adds credibility. I consider it plagiarism otherwise. I hope I always give credit where credit is due, and if not, that someone quickly reminds me!
Great post Whitney and I couldnt agree more! I think most authors really try to give credit where credit is due but I do run across an occasional post where I am sure the info came from another source and the source wasnt given credit. I too take the way of giving them the benefit of the doubt but find it disappointing and surely heartbreaking for the original source. I think it happens alot with design work too. I remember one time especially when I designed a rug for a project(which was given to another designer) and low and behold when the project was completed there was my rug!!! So frustrating. I let it go(after stewing over it for a few months, lol) because I should have been more protective of my design and learned a great deal about what not to do the next time. With blog post content and Pinterest images, I think it’s especially difficult to manage. One must be really careful and ultra sensitive and considerate to the sources they choose to use. I think you have to make it a priority to credit your sources and unfortunately not everyone is as concerned and in tune with the courtesy as they should be. Hopefully the more we blog the more everyone will learn how to be more courteous. Crossing my fingers. So sorry you had a bad experience. 🙂
I certainly agree with you Whitney; I’m not a creative so I would never take credit for someone else’s work. Good to point out.
This is a great topic. It is true that sometimes people forget where you read or heard something, because we normally read many emails or posts around the many media sources, but if people are planning to share it forward I think it should be a great practice to make a note on where they got that cool thing (saying) they want to share to others.
It is very interesting that you are posting about this topic, because I am introducing my daughter to Instagram and had noticed that she was posting other people’s pictures and I had to correct her on protocol. It’s my duty as a mom to teach her and if she loves someones post and she wants to share, it’s ok, as long as she re-posts and give credit to the original sender. Link that person where she took it from or better yet, ask them if it’s ok to re-post. Being transparent and honest are priceless qualities.