On citing sources

IMG_5607A year and a half ago, I blogged about the “Social Stewardship of Sharing“, in which I highlighted a best practice of thanking the person from whom you shared a post. In that post I made one huge assumption, one which I shouldn’t have made: assuming source credit is already in the post.

But I am not I am going to talk about assigning source credit when you share content and the source isn’t already evident or attributed. Those topics have already been discussed in far better detail than I could provide. To figure out how, here’s three good blog posts to get you on your way:

So, instead of telling you how to cite sources of shared content, I’d rather tell you WHY it is a good idea:

First and foremost, if you aren’t citing often this can become either plagiarism or outright stealing of visual content; simple but important violations of copyright. This occurs whenever you post content without citations or links to the originating source and create the perception that you created the content yourself without rights to do so.

If that isn’t enough to at least make you want to think about citing the source, perhaps some of the softer side reasons will resonate more:

  • The most simple is that it provides direct credit to the person who created the content, which helps to build up their reputation without diminishing your own.
  • Secondarily, it provides you value as a curator of good content, and builds your trustworthiness to do the right thing when it comes to social sharing.
  • Like my original blog post also outlines: the third, and more global reason, is the sense of social stewardship. Providing that value to others (be it the person who created the content, or those with whom you are sharing) builds your own social karma. Helping others achieve their own goals is a great way to achieve your own success.

Just like thanking a person for an original share, crediting the source of creation is also a form of social currency, where a link noting credit acts as payment for being able to reshare it yourself (given appropriate copyright abilities of course). In time, you’ll find that others will begin doing the same for you and the content you create.

Being a good social citizen is the first step to reaping the benefits of social sharing.