I’m going to write something that I hope is entertaining to read… but that I also hope is taken seriously.
It’s about when you use quotes in your posts on social media. And everywhere I suppose. You know what I’m talking about, right? You post a photo or a status update with some lyrics or lines that really capture your mood and show you have an artistic soul and whatnot:
I totally get it. In fact, I have created a monster-I-mean-Instagram-account for my dog that exclusively uses quotations of Edgar Allan Poe as captions. It’s a THING.
Basically, I applaud using words by various and sundry others to convey what you’re feeling.
But I have to tell you something. I have to be frank. A lot of you?
You’re doing it wrong.
You have got to start citing sources. What I mean is, you have to give credit to the person who originally said what you are now using to express whatever it is that you’re feeling.
Why must you do this? Because it is stealing if you don’t. It’s not enough to use quotation marks.
Now, I would like to say that although I just accused some of you of stealing, I don’t have super hard feelings. I genuinely believe many of you just don’t think about it.
So to illustrate:
- Not adding the author’s name to your quotes would be like if someone posted a really rad photo you took, put quotation marks around it, but never gave you credit.
- Or like if someone took a really great song that you wrote and performed it, but instead of giving you credit they just did air quotes a couple of times on stage.
- Or like if someone put quotation marks around a painting you did and shared that painting with the public…but did not give you credit.
A little ridiculous, right? But the any and many of you who have had your work posted without credit or permission – or worse, plagiarized – know the sting I speak of.
I’m sure I speak for many writers when I say that if we write something that moves you, we would love nothing more than for you to share it. We just want to make sure that we get credit and therefore respect when our work is shared.
As a writer, I’ll admit the lack of wordsmith attribution has been bothering me. As an English teacher, I compulsively correct this type of thing. But as your friend, I honestly hope you’ll think about it and start including author’s names with those beautiful words you pull and post. It will help us find more of the words and therefore connect even more deeply with the sentiment you shared.
**PS The author-less quote caption example above (and all pictures in this post) were not hypocrisy because I made up that OBVIOUS gem of a saying just now for this post. 😉