The Rise of the Content Thief



So, there’s this company– and I’m not going to name them here because this issue is a lot broader than name calling and even though what they did was shitty, they do not deserve to be the scapegoat for the incredibly large cult of thieves polluting the social media atmosphere. This company just happened to respond via Twitter to one of my more challenging blog posts, and then published a blog post less than a week later that exemplified the very core of my own blog post. Granted, this could be a coincidence. There are only so many ideas in the world, and we could have just come up with the same one a mere few days apart. However, if they wanted me to believe that, they should have not responded to my original blog post, thus bringing attention to themselves.

Greatest part about this? I am not a usual reader of this company’s blog, and would have never probably seen the post, if it wasn’t for a naive Twitter follower who Tweeted me the blog post as support for MY idea. Ha.

Okay, enough venting. I think we can all agree that content stealing is a HUGE issue that is becoming worse at an ALARMING rate. To be honest, we are all guilty of it now and then, especially as content curators. However, while most of my Tweets are not articles written by me, they certainly include the link to the original article with the original author’s name on it. Any photo I use is credited, as long as I can credit it to the source. I do not sit back and put my name on it as an author.

There is good news, though. While social media provides thieves with an easier playing field to “break into”, it also puts a bright, big old spotlight on the thieves if they’re caught. I watched some stories play out this week in the stealing of content, and it was relieving to see the original content creators actually see the stolen content and call the thief out. Even a greater thing I witnessed was people seeing stolen content before the original creator had a chance to even realize it was stolen, and they wrote things like, “Hey! That’s so-and-so’s. Not yours!”, and then linked to the original post. Way to go, humanity.

It’s critical that we step up as social media professionals and call-out brands and other professionals stealing content. It’s also critical that we not contribute to the growing circus of thieves, and attribute material to the original creator, when possible. There’s enough creativity to go around, and, believe me, people aren’t going to view you any less because you admit the content is from another person. In fact, they’ll look up to you for supporting other professionals in the field.

**Looking forward to seeing this paraphrased on another blog soon.**

– Marji J. Sherman