I was really hoping that I would never have to make this post in my entire blogging career.
I was really hoping that I would never run into another blogging scandal like the one with Kathleen Hale and Blythe Harris, that only broke ground when I was a new book blogger, still unsure of my place in the community. (Yes, I know this article comes from Buzzfeed, but I think it gives a good overview)
While that incident was horrible and downright inexplicable in it's own realm, this next issue is also just as important.
Bloggers are plagiarizing other bloggers.
As sad as this is to say, this has been happening for a long time, even in just the short year and a half that I have been blogging here at I Turn the Pages. I've seen tweets about bloggers who have had their content stolen. I have read very similar - if not completely identical - Goodreads reviews for books. I have even seen a website where another blogger took pieces of reviews from several bloggers and pieced it together as if nothing was wrong.
It's time for this to end.
I thought this whole scandal would be over and done with by now, especially after the blogging community essentially shut down a blog that had been plagiarizing reviews since it's birth. But, yet again, I see myself reminded that these plagiarisms still take place.
This is NOT OKAY.
As bloggers, we work very, very hard to post consistently to our blogs, to interact with subscribers, viewers and otherwise. Thankfully, the one thing we don't have to work hard for as bloggers as finding the connection to something that we love. But, a lot of what the general public (and sometimes, even other bloggers) don't consider is that effort goes into every single piece of the website. It took me hours and hours to decide to use the font that you are reading right now on the blog, along with the size of the font and the layout of my posts, not to mention the time I spent crafting this particular one.
To see something that we have all worked so hard for - to see something that we have quite literally poured our hearts into - be copy-pasted onto another blog by a few simple clicks is an indescribable event. Thankfully, I have not been plagiarized (at least, to my knowledge), but I can only imagine it feels like someone is ripping your heart out of your chest.
Blogging isn't just something that we do passively. We put a ton of work into it every single day, even if you don't see us posting all of the time. Hannah from The Irish Banana Review works with publishers to put together blog tours to promote the book way before it is even released. Nori from ReadWriteLove28 puts together a Sunday Street Team for the same purpose. Brittany from The Book Addict's Guide took her love for books and turned it into an Etsy Candle Shop. Our blogging isn't just about our blog, it is about the people that we meet and love.
But, when you take content away from us, and claim it as your own, it is crossing a line. It is definitely one thing to have similar feelings about a certain character in a book, but it is another to copy a review word for word or even paraphrase it.
I really don't know what other way to put this, but I felt I needed to write a blog post because I needed to get my voice out there, to have my voice heard, and maybe, just maybe it would force these bloggers and other individuals to reconsider their actions and remedy the situation.
I know that it can be scary entering a community, or even if you are not new, just to be a part of it. I know that sometimes, inspiration for posts do not come easily, and you want to stick to a schedule as much as you can. I know that sometimes, you can't help but be addicted to the numbers game, and do anything that you can to ensure those numbers keep rising.
But plagiarism is not the answer.
If you need help coming up with ideas for blog posts, or even need someone to bounce them off of, I'm sure I speak for several book bloggers in the community when I say you can come to us. You can come to me. You can email me, or tweet me, or even Facebook message my page if you have to. I am more than willing to help you come up with your own creative and unique posts.
There are other options than plagiarism. If you need some ideas for posts, you can also talk to me and I will include you in some of my tags or features. (By the way, you don't have to be officially tagged in my tag posts to participate). We can even come up with a joint feature together if you would like. You don't have to plagiarize. You shouldn't.
I mentioned this on Twitter, but I will mention this here again. Blogging is a numbers game. Blogging is not about followers or views or other blog statistics. Blogging is about connecting with something that you love, and sharing that passion with others. Your blog may be about books like mine, or it may not be. Your blog could be about makeup or animals or movies or anything that you are passionate about. Finding that spark - finding what you are passionate about, and what makes you, you - is what blogging is about. You have to be your own person to be successful.
Do yourself a favor, along with others in the blogging community, and find a blogger that you really connect with. Maybe you enjoy reading their posts, seeing their pictures on Instagram, or you just like seeing them get excited about their favorite authors. TELL THEM. The best thing you can do for the blogging community right now, even if you are a part of it, is to support everyone. It's not easy dealing with plagiarism, but you can let them know that you support them in everything that they do.
I will be doing this using the hashtag #BloggerLove in case you would like to join me,
Plagiarism is not acceptable, and we have to be the ones to send that message. We can still be a loving, fun, accepting community. We don't have to let this knock us down either.