I hate that there is a need to even address this topic.
Call me naive, but when I started writing for (primarily) an audience who had also suffered child loss, I assumed we would be of one accord in protecting each others’ hearts. But that has proven false.
So here we are-one more time.
How should I share the words of another? What is the RIGHT way to use a blog post or FB post or quote from an online or offline article on my own timeline that resonates deeply with my heart?
And, most importantly, when should I NOT share?
Let me just begin by saying that this is not about “credit”-my blog and most blogs I read are not monetized in any way. The authors are sharing because they are passionate about exposing their hearts in the hope it will help another heart just a little bit.
That said, it’s important to understand that in sharing, I (and others) are choosing vulnerability when we could choose to hide.
So when someone steals our words (maybe changes them just a little) and posts them as their own, they are stealing our identity-and in my case, since the blog is about my grief journey after losing my son-they are stealing his identity as well.
And that is a terrible thing to do.
The RIGHT WAY to share a blog post is this:
- If it has been shared on a social media platform with the setting on “public” you may simply share it directly from there. I post each day’s blog on my personal FB page that way as well as on the public page Heartache and Hope.
- If it has been shared in a closed group, click through to the blog itself and share using the social media buttons at the bottom of the post.
- It’s NOT ok to copy/paste the blog in its entirety and post it on your own timeline. Even if you use quotes and give the link, it is typically seen as being your work and is then shared around the Internet without proper credit. Someone did this with one of my posts and it was shared tens of thousands of times before I found out about it. My heart, my story, my relationship with my son and my tears–MY identity. And it hurt. Now it floats in cyberspace without my permission and without anyone knowing it was my Dominic who inspired it.
The RIGHT WAY to share another person’s Facebook post is this:
- If the person has set it on “public” you can share using the “share” option at the bottom of the post. This way it shows where it originated.
- If the person has limited the audience, ask if it’s OK if you share. Once permission is granted, you can share it the same way OR , if they agree, you may copy and paste but should use quotation marks to indicate the words are not your own.
- If someone has shared something in a closed group you SHOULD NOT share it. Period. Those groups are intended to be safe spaces where what goes on in them, stays in them. It is never, never, never acceptable to copy and paste a post or comment from these groups and make it public.
That’s it. It boils down to the same rules we learned in high school: if you didn’t write it, cite it appropriately so your audience knows that.
Otherwise it is theft.
I love for people to share the blog. I love that my words speak truths that echo how their heart feels.
But please, please, please do not pretend they are YOUR words.