Social media is one of our largest pools of information, as well as the top place to visit for advice and inspiration, so it’s easy to see why many of us put a lot of time and effort into our content creation. BUT — unfortunately, due to the amount of voices and the overwhelming noise of it all (coupled with little to no accountability!), social media is also one of the easiest places to get away with plagiarism.
In most cases, the intention was never to “steal” someone else’s content, but that’s what ends up happening more than we probably realize. And let’s be honest: the social media standard for citing sources doesn’t exist, so we can’t rely on common practice to be our guide. As swHw women, it’s always our goal to give credit where credit is due, so we’ve compiled nine tips below that we hope will help us all post with integrity.
Using “quotation marks” without attributing an author does not count as a citation. Include the author’s name in your caption/post, and search to see if the author is on the platform you’re using so you can tag their account.
If you’re sharing a screenshot from Twitter, check to make sure the author’s handle hasn’t been cropped out.
If you’re using someone else’s branded image, do not add your logo in place of or in addition to theirs. Share their image as is, and tag the original account in the post itself and the caption.
Whenever possible, always tag the person you’re citing with their handle from the platform your on. (Example: If you’re using a Twitter post on IG, leave the Twitter handle + tag them with their IG handle if they have one.)
If you’re not sure who said it, be open about that. Leaving a quote unattributed gives the impression that you said it…especially if you make it a branded image with your name or logo.
Use the Internet to your advantage. If you find a quote without an author, Google the quote. Chances are, you’ll be able to get to the original source in a matter of seconds.
Don’t hide citing your sources in a hashtag. If you want to hashtag the author, that’s great, but make it in addition to an actual tag.
Whenever possible, point people to the FULL source so they can get the FULL blessing of content that blessed you. Whether it’s a book/podcast/blog/social media account, etc. No one looks down upon those who learn from others.
Always remember: It’s not as much about protecting someone else’s content as it is about protecting the purity of your heart. Whenever we have a bent toward desiring to take credit for someone else’s work, even with something as “simple” as a social media post, giving into what’s less than integrity gives Satan a foothold where he doesn’t belong. So make like John Crist and #checkyourheart.
Michelle Myers is the founder of she works HIS way and Cross Training Couture, the creator of the swHw Business Tracker and the author of Famous in Heaven and at Home. She offers marketing + copywriting services to help purpose-driven businesses clarify their message. Sign up at clarifyyourmessage.com/michelle-myers.