RTs, shares and plagiarism

One of the difficulties people have — journalists included — is giving credit where credit is due. It’s too much fun to take credit for someone else’s wit or intelligence or insight, which is why plagiarism continues to be a problem.

But with retweets on Twitter and share on Facebook so easy, so expected and so common, I wondered if social networks were training a generation of users that crediting others was becoming second nature. (Yes, you might think it’s already second nature given the number of times it is emphasized on college campuses.)

RTs and shares eliminate the need to come up with different wordings or cutting and pasting. In the same way that linking to other sites within a story or blog post is a simple process, so too are RTs and shares. A few clicks and you’re done. A habit is formed or, at least, reinforced.

I asked Craig Silverman, who knows as much about journalistic errors and corrections as anyone, what he thought via Twitter. His response: “Forcing attribution in social products is a lovely thing, & I do think that over long term it spreads the ethic of attribution.”

I retweeted it.

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