In a post from June 2010, the LA Times technology blog discussed the the ethics of reblogging:
"'Borrowing' content has been a common practice among bloggers practically from the beginning. You can take whatever you want as long as you give credit, right?
Not necessarily." Read the full article here
There are many legal and ethical issues to consider when posting content that you didn't create. But don't fret! As long as you follow a few simple rules of thumb you can safely reblog that great article about short sales (or the kitten video, or the lasagna recipe, or the love letter someone wrote to Ryan Gosling-- I'm not here to judge). That's the beauty of the internet, after all. Information can make its way from Buenos Aires to Mumbai in less time than it take to stifle a sneeze.
Here is our guide for correctly posting a reblog:
1. Clearly cite your source. Notice how I referenced the LA times blog in the beginning of this post? Not only did I tell you who I was quoting before I quoted them, but I linked to them before and after sharing the information. Many times I see people posting an article they clearly didn't write, and then off-handedly mentioning who actually wrote it at the very end of the post. Not ok. Be clear and obvious. Not only does that show respect for the content's author, but it shows that you're not trying to take credit for something you didn't write. Your clients will see you as well-informed and trustworthy!
2. Never copy and paste an entire article. This is another common mistake I see new bloggers make all the time. It's plagiarism folks, pure and simple, and there are laws and websites designed to protect authors from having their content stolen.
There are two exceptions to this rule: One, if you have been given permission by the author to use the entire article (in this case you must still give proper credit to the author), or two, you have purchased the content to use and post as your own. Unless one of these two exceptions apply to the information you're sharing, the best practice is to post a portion of the article, and then make sure to include a link back to the original article. Again, see how I did it with the LA Times blog post? I quoted a portion of the article, and immediately provided a link so readers can view the entire post in its original location.
3. Provide your own commentary. Readers need to know why you're sharing the information with them. Even one sentence (for example, "Check out this great article on CNN about genetically modified tomatoes!") is fine in most cases. Remember though, you want your readers to see you as a trusted source of information. Include as much commentary on the information you're sharing as needed to make your point, keep readers informed, and clearly communicate your knowledge and understanding of the subject.
As long as you follow these steps, you'll be good to go! Now get out there and post some kitten videos!
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