Plagiarism- Protecting Your Personal Brand
Eric Caldana. That is my name, it is who I am and it separates me from everyone else- it is my personal brand. Your personal brand is who you are, what you represent, what you have become and where you want to be. All successful companies have created, developed and maintained a strong brand equity that people can easily recognize by slogans, logos, reputation, and various categories of where you position your brand in the marketplace. Listing a few companies below, we can recognize them by the ways in which their brand has been positioned across all touch points.
McDonalds- Golden Arches, “I’m lovin it,” fast service
Starbucks- Siren, exceptional customer experience
Nike- Checkmark, “Just do it”
These companies have strategically planned out and implemented exactly how they want to be perceived in the marketplace. The same can be said about our personal brand, working to where we are today and where we plan to be.
Now imagine having someone copying your every move, everyday routine, taking the same likings of interests and hobbies as you and claiming it to be their own. We have all been in school at some point in our lives and we know how difficult some tests, assignments and homework can be. Some embrace it as a challenge, while others wait for their chance to copy the ideas from the hard workers. Those who have spent countless hours working diligently on it, only to have that notorious friend or acquaintance ask, “Hey man, do you mind if I look at your work to see what you did?” With the response usually being “Sure, just don’t copy it.” Unfortunately, that is not the case in many situations. Ideas, thoughts, words, images and videos are plagiarized everyday without having the slightest idea and credit is being given to the wrong person.
According to dictionary.com, plagiarism is“an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and there presentation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author,” (Dictionary.com). Many people do not understand the different types of plagiarisms that exist, how to properly source other people’s work and even the potential of plagiarizing their own work! To better understand all the different forms of plagiarism, visit (http://www.plagiarism.org/plagiarism-101/what-is-plagiarism). Some might not see the larger picture of why plagiarism is unacceptable, especially if what is being taken is rephrased in our own words. Plagiarism is considered fraud (plagiarism.org), plain and simple. It is an act of stealing a form of property from someone else and using it as your own.
In the context of our personal brand, we need to remember that our personal brand is a reflection of one thing and one thing only- yourself! When we are building our own brand, it is crucial to understand what exactly plagiarism is and the different forms. The reasons being, we might accidently plagiarism an image, incorrectly use a video and incorrectly cite an author and the credibility of your own personal brand is tarnished. Your personal brand is a representation of yourself and it is imperative to acknowledge the source of information you are using and affiliating your image with when building your brand. It also comes down to the integrity of your personal brand. It is your duty to cite, reference, quote and give credit to another person when an idea, thought, image or even a video that you have created was sparked by the creation of another person.
In relation to social media, tweets, photos, phrases, videos, etc. are being exposed to millions of people without the proper reference given from its original source. Many believe that if what they are sharing is not from an “expert” or “professional” in a specific field then there is no need for citation. Same thing can be said for those who post quotes of famous authors on social media platforms such as Facebook but do not reference or give citation. They believe that because there is no attempt in a personal gain or achievement such as work or school, that no reference is needed, but when indeed it is. Taking something that is not yours, regardless of where it came from and the context of its use, it must be properly cited or have made reference to the original source.
The next topic of discussion is how do we prevent others from plagiarizing our own social media accounts. I believe that it starts with us, staying credible with our personal brand and maintaining integrity by acting as influencers and properly citing every source of information that we use across all of our social media platforms. When we build our brand, it is crucial to truly define what is ours and if our idea stemmed from someone else. If we do not remain consistent in our message with proper acknowledge of what we are posting then we are damaging our own personal brand. Having respect, credibility and integrity from other businesses, brands and people will help develop and maintain your personal brand to high standards.
Referencing back to my discussion above in regards to being asked in school to show another peer your work for a homework assignment, do not cave in with the traditional “No, I do not mind if you see my work” answer. Stand up for yourself and remember who you are and how hard you worked to complete that assignment Answer with a loud and emphatic “You’re damn right I mind! This is my work and I am taking full credit for it, no one else.” Stay consistent with your personal brand across all touch points and remember how hard you worked to get to where you are, and no one should take that away from you.
Dictionary.com,. ‘The Definition Of Plagiarism’. N. p., 2015. Web. 23 May 2015.
Plagiarism.org – Best Practices for Ensuring Originality in Written Work,. ‘What Is Plagiarism?’. N. p., 2015. Web. 23 May 2015.
Plagiarism Cominc. Oliveharveycollegelibraryguides.pbworks.com,. N. p., 2015. Web. 23 May 2015.
Drew Carey. Quickmeme.com,. N. p., 2015. Web. 23 May 2015.
Bart Simpson. Cdn2.hubspot.net,. N. p., 2015. Web. 23 May 2015.