Today's LinkedIn Nugget

On #LinkedIn: plagiarism is death for your brand

dontMy (self-appointed) job is to opine on LinkedIn topics as they  expose themselves to me in my real life. I could not help but reflect on the latest news of “borrowed” material, as it has a definite LinkedIn lesson: Be original in your brand, always, every phrase, throughout!

When I taught in the university setting, instructors had a very sophisticated online tool to pass all written student material through to expose any 3 or more word phrases lifted from any published sources.

Often it was unintentional and became a teaching opportunity to attribute the source of another’s thought.

More than once it was deliberate, to merrily skip by the rules and hope the professor would not notice.

Once it was an entire paper, reused multiple times all over the world in other classrooms, and after consultation with the dean, resulted in a zero in my class, the student denied it (c’mon!) then he dropped out and I am certain went elsewhere to play similar games, as some just never expect THEY would be found out.

From time to time I get a frustrated message from a LinkedIn client advising me that someone has lifted/plagiarized his or her material. The scoundrel is using it as if it were their original thought. The client worked hard and deep to come up with self-defining narrative to portray their original, unique brand message. The “borrower” (not ever intending to return anything) passes it off as his or her own.

The originator feels violated. The brands of both suffer. Worse: the credibility, maturity and professionalism of the plagiarist ceases to have any value. The originator can call the plagiarist down, using LinkedIn as the intermediary. It’s a violation of professionalism that we enjoy in the value we rely on from LinkedIn.

So from the news headlines, to the classroom, to the LinkedIn profile, the moral of the story is: just don’t plagiarize! You will be exposed, it will not be pretty, you will have to retract, and you deserve to suffer the consequences.

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