Originally Posted on my old blog 09/2016.
Notes: Before I dive in, I need to clarify that I don’t think taking inspiration from someone’s work is stealing. In my opinion, the people I refer to in the proceeding letter are those that will directly take a post you’ve written and post the same thing, slightly paraphrased. I know the line between taking inspiration and stealing a really blurry one, but I have had an instance of content taking very recently, and I am 100% sure that this was no inspired post – the subject matter was the same, okay that happens a lot and I have no issue, but the layout and a lot of the specific phrases, as well as the position of these phrases were copied. It was genuinely as if my post was copied and pasted, then a couple of bits were tossed around and the person’s own pictures were slotted in. I don’t intend to name names, instead I wanted to write this letter to highlight issues like this because as a blogger, it really disappoints me.
Dear “Blogger” & taker of someone’s hard work,
I would love to know why you started a blog. For me, blogging was an outlet – somewhere I could put my thoughts to paper (well, a screen) and freely express myself. I wonder is that the same for you, or did you just start blogging ‘for the sake of it’.
When you start a post from scratch, and begin to write, hours go into it. Blogger’s wrack their brains for things to say and at the end of it, they post only things that they can be proud of. When you read a post and ‘copy’ it, how long does it take? Is it ‘easy’? How many bloggers do you know will tell you about how easy blogging is – I bet none. The hard work people put into their work is amazing to see – you can tell straight away that this person loves their blog, but you come in with a copied post and are praised for it.. Aren’t you just piggy-backing off of someone else’s hard work? If you liked the subject so much, why not do some deeper research into it? It would be so easy to make your post original but you saw an easier way and took it..
Are you unclear of the line that exists between taking inspiration and copying? For me, taking inspiration would mean seeing a blog post title such as ’10 Facts about me’ and doing that.. That is taking inspiration. But if you read that persons 10 Facts and decide to use 8 facts of theirs and just two of your own, then you’ve crossed a line – unless you’re almost identical to the person and in that case, I apologise.
As a photographer, I learn about plagiarism. Stealing pictures is an easier thing to tackle, but both boil down to the same thing – stealing something that makes a person’s blog original is wrong. Your blog needs to be for you, that’s what I always think. If you were someone else would you read your blog?
Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting out it’s important to post things you care about and even though reading other people’s blogs is the best way to learn, but use them as references, not as something to take important details from. You’re blog can succeed, but will have a much better chance when you blog what you mean and not just what you see.
I do wish well for your blog, but I hope you come up with your own content in the future.
If you feel like you may be crossing the line of being inspired by someone’s and just recycling exactly what they said, why not come to them and ask them about it? I know if I’d been asked I would have been much more accepting.
Lastly, if you think you’re blogging just for the sake of having a blog, take a step back and reevaluate. If you are serious about blogging it’ll show through in your posts. As a blogger and an avid reader of blogs, I sure know the difference.
A disappointed blogger.
Notes: I hope you will understand what I mean in this post. 99% of people who use someone’s post as inspiration don’t tread too near copying, however sometimes you can see clearly how someone has decided ‘Ooh I like that, I’ll do it too’ and have made no effort to make it their own. I love blogging and the interaction that comes from it, but those who copy directly aren’t for me. I read so many blogs and if I see a post I like, it is my duty to do my utmost, to make sure that their content is originial to them, and mine to me – that’s just the way I feel about it.
If you have any opinions on this subject, let me know in the comments below – I would love to discuss it!