Blogging is usually seen as a casual experience. Some people believe that since this type of content is rather informal that the rules of plagiarism don’t apply. Well, it simply isn’t true. Plagiarism is actually a huge issue on the internet in general, especially blogs. So, it is best to avoid being marked as a cheater or a lazy writer while creating online content.
Definition of plagiarism
First, let’s talk about what plagiarism is in earnest. Oxford Dictionaries says it is, “The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.” Pretty simple and self-explanatory, right? Well, there are nuances and shades of plagiarism to consider.
Many content creators on blogs grab material from dictionaries, encyclopedias, Wikipedia, and other forms of general information sites. The bad thing is that they often do not give recognition to the source of these facts and statements, even when they directly copy from them. Text taken from the aforementioned resources always has to be cited. It does not have to be in a special academic format, but a form of recognition has to be there to avoid running into plagiarism. Even a hyperlink to the original website will do.
A really touchy subject on the internet is whether visual content is copyrighted when on sites such as Reddit and Imgur. Well, unless it is marked being part of the creative commons and that no attribution is needed, you need to tell where you got the images, videos, GIFs, and other visual material. Just because it is entertaining, jokey, or light-hearted does not mean that its source does not need to be recognized.
It is easy to read something on the web and try to paraphrase it, inadvertently copying phrases and words. This is because the source material goes into your subconsciousness and you automatically come out with the same stuff when you write about a chosen topic. The best way to avoid this is to take original notes on the subject at hand about the source material you want to paraphrase. When glancing at your notes, you can write something entirely fresh based on them. Just to be careful, you can copy and paste your paraphrased sentences into a search engine online and see if any relevant matches come up. If so, then you can change your writing.
Research what’s out there
It’s normal to look around the internet to see what has already been written on the subject you want to discuss. You might be surprised by how many articles and posts have appeared on the internet on your topic of interest. It is not easy to come up with new angles and fresh content. That is why it is important to write the vast majority of your content from scratch in order to avoid claims of plagiarism. Also, when you research your topic in depth, you can understand the nuances and many sides of it. This will give you a more holistic perspective on what you want to discuss. The worst thing to do on the internet is to rant on something you don’t know much about, or which you have only a narrow view on. You will be exposed quickly by your audience.
Use anti-plagiarism tools
Besides our software, which checks for similarity through a sophisticated algorithm and database, there are several other trustworthy plagiarism-finding tools. Searching on the internet for them does not take much time, and it is even simpler to get the results of the test.
All in all, as a blogger, make sure you don’t get lazy while putting content together. Aim for unique material all the time, and if you want to use stuff from other sites, be sure to give it the recognition it deserves.