The ETHICAL Way to Share

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 tearsMY 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.

do unto others rainbow words




Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

7 thoughts on “The ETHICAL Way to Share”

  1. I know I have shared your heart and your words before. They are what I’ve thought but couldn’t say or express. I am hoping and praying I did it correctly as I didn’t know the difference until now. If I did it wrong with all my heart I ask for yours and your son’s forgiveness. And now that I know how will attempt to do it correctly. Do keep in mind that annoying grief brain that malfunctions my actions at times. Thank you for your words. You help me more than you will ever know
    LaNette Vassar

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, LaNette-please don’t fret. I am not at all upset by folks who share in ignorance. Only those who appropriate my words or the words of others in full knowledge of what they are doing. I am very good friends with “grief brain”! I start every conversation with my daughter who lives away from home like this, “I know you told me what you are doing tomorrow but I forgot. Could you tell me again?” 🙂 I’m thankful the blog is helpful to your heart. May the Lord give you the strength for each new day. ❤


  2. I always appreciate it, Melanie, when you spell out the steps for sharing ethically. It has taken me a while to get the hang of it and, even now, I still need to think it through before I share something. Maybe moderators of the various closed groups could post guidelines for ethical sharing in the rules for their groups. I sure would have found this to be helpful when I first entered the world of FB.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so very sorry this has happened to you. I can not imagine the pain it has caused you. Your words, thoughts and the memories of your son and how you walk this journey are an inspiration to so many of us. Thank you for being willing to put your heart and soul in word form that so eloquently expresses how a lot of us feel. You are a blessing to my life and your words help me along this path of loss. I will be praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry you had this experience. There is so much vulnerability in sharing and no one should step on tgge strength it takes to push past that and open your heart. By the way, your son is very handsome, what a sweet smile.

    Liked by 1 person

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