Identity Theft – How Plagiarism Steals From Social Media




Plagiarism is an ongoing problem in the academic world.  Many students feel that shortcuts are necessary in order to complete assignments to get that good grade rather then take the time and effort to complete their own work.  However with social media growing, plagiarism is making that transition from universities to online social media websites.  Twitter, Instragram,and Tumblr,are just a few sites in which people are able to express themselves  with what many have alled today, their personal brand.  A personal brand contains many themes that separate yourself from other people (Patel, Neil, and Aaron Agius. “The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand.” Quick Sprout. Quick Sprout, LLC) This blog will explore ways to develop your personal brand and also how to protect your online personal brand from plagiarism.  In order to prevent your personal brand from being plagiarized, I will first discuss what is plagiarism and why it is distasteful.


What is Plagiarism

Plagiarism takes many forms, and because it can appear in many different forms it is easy for people to just snatch other people’s hard work.  Ways for people to plagiarize includes; to copy someone else’s work and pass it on as if you wrote it, not providing credit when using information form another source, or even present an idea as if it was your owns however it was actually copied from someone else (What Is Plagiarism?” IParadigms).  Whether in school or in the workplace, plagiarism is no laughing matter.  While i was attending university i believed plagiarism was only a myth and students wouldn’t stoop so low to hand in a piece of work that wasn’t really theirs.  However as the years have gone by I noticed there at least one student was caught for plagiarism.  Whether it be copying from another student or using material online with providing, students felt as if they needed to resort to falsifying their reports to achieve that A+.  In the end however it is not worth it as it only creates a negative branding on yourself.  Professors, mentors and colleagues begin to lose respect and not want to associate with someone that cannot work hard to complete the assignment on their own.  Further the consequences of plagiarism at school can result in being kicked out.

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We take what we learn in school and use these new skills to make that transition to the workplace, however if your cheating every step of the way, how long do you plan to last? Copying ideas from co-workers or using previous ideas and not giving credit where it is due will bring about a negative branding.  Your bosses and co-workers will respect you less, providing an image of not being competent at your designated job will may ultimately result in being fired.  This is a branding that you do not want stuck with you for the rest of your life, therefore take the time to learn and complete tasks on your own as it will only benefit you in the long run.


Personal Branding


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Building ones personal brand is an important stepping stone.  As mentioned earlier above,There are various steps that can be taken in order to establish ones brand.  These steps include;

  • Step 1: Set Values
  • Step 2: Prioritize your Values (family, friends, religion, etc)
  • Step 3: Identify your Passions
  • Step 4: Identify Traits
  • Step 5: Who you are with Family, Friends, or Peers

(Patel, Neil, and Aaron Agius. “The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand.” Quick Sprout. Quick Sprout,)

These are all important steps that help develop that positive brand you hope to achieve.  These steps are taken and applied to many different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.  People use these platforms in order to present themselves in a way which they want to be seen.  For example, if a students wants to be noticed for their knowledge of music they may post and tweet heavily on music trends and news.  If they want to seem like the ultimate Toronto Maple Leafs fan, they have their website and various social media platforms customized to the Toronto Maple Leafs, such as backgrounds pictures and providing the latest news on the team.  Through these steps, one can start networking and develop relationships with people of similar interests.  Generating that image of oneself through social media has become a regular everyday thing.  Sanja Gardasevic wrote a blog recently and had a very interesting point which i feel sums up what social media means to individuals today.  In Gardasevic blog, it said “  Our online identities have become a proof of our existence and credibility, for brands and individuals alike” (Gardasevic, Sanja. “Lessons We Learned About Personal Branding.” Domain ME Blog Lessons We Learned About Personal Branding Comments.) This quote from Gardasevic explains how personal branding and social media is now connected.  In the past authors wrote books in order to express their views and theories, however now with the growth of social media, anyone can express their opinion on any matter at any time.  With their ideas being taken, peoples identities are also being taken.


Social Media and Plagiarism

Copying through social media is no different then students copying straight from the textbook, plagiarism is still present.  A blog by Emily Sukhova attempts to explain how and why social media facing problems of plagiarism.  Plagiarism takes place through people re-tweeting other peoples tweets however not providing the credit to the first person (Sukhova, Emilia. “Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy.”).  There are 3 reasons listed by Sukhova on why this problem occurs.

  1. Credibility is an Issue: If the poster is not famous or well known,  people may feel that it is alright to just copy and paste their ideas.  Due to the fact that the person they are copying from is not an expert in the field or maybe new to the social media world it is deemed alright.  it is quite the contrary as copying another persons ideas would still be considered plagiarism. (Sukhova, Emilia. “Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy.”)
  2. Social Media Style of Communication: The style of social media usually consists of short tweets or messages for friends and families to see.  Even though that is the concept associated with social media, that does not mean it is acceptable for other users to simply take whatever posting they find amusing and take it for their own.  Even though this is not a research paper for university, it does not make it alright for people to copy off of social media.  (Sukhova, Emilia. “Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy.”)
  3. No One to Blame: When attending university, there are various ways for Professors to check if their students are copying from another source.  However when it comes to Social Media, there is no system in place to prevent users from copying each other (Sukhova, Emilia. “Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy.”).  Instead people are able to copy and get away with it without any repercussions.  In university, you get kicked out for plagiarism, while copying a funny tweet will get you a like.

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In order to prevent this from happening to you, examples will be given to protect yourself from plagiarism.

How to Prevent Your Identity From Being Taken

Back to Gardasevic comment regarding identities being expressed through social media, we must protect our ideas and brand from being taken by another individual.  Imagine building your brand through various social media accountants, putting up creative posts and tweets, only for someone else to copy you.  All that work you put into branding yourself just became useless.  Identities are something that cannot be copied and is unique among every individual. That is why measures should be taken in order to prevent other social media users from plagiarizing your brand.

One way in order to protect yourself is through leaving a water marks on your posts (Guest. “How to Protect Your Blog from Plagiarism).  It is a great way to notice when your content is being used without your authorization.   Copy writing is another great way for you as to protect your identity from being taken (Guest. “How to Protect Your Blog from Plagiarism). When it comes to being taken serious, there is no better way to protect your self with copy write law.  As long as it is present on your website, any incident that may take, you will have the proof needed to show that your came up with it first.  The final example is write like yourself  (Guest. “How to Protect Your Blog from Plagiarism).  Everyone is unique, especially when writing and just like your DNA it cannot be replicated.  People can copy and paste it but as long as you use the previous examples  you will be protected and no identity theft will come anywhere near your social media accounts.



Losing ones brand, identity, etc is important, that is why by preventing plagiarism from happening, it will occur less often, especially if you yourself do not copy.

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