Social media is great for sharing thoughts and ideas, but don’t forget that just like any other type of published content, it’s important to cite materials used on social channels. Because social media is constantly evolving, sometimes it can get tricky when deciding where to give credit, or even know who to give credit to for that matter. I don’t know about you, but my high school AP English teacher never included social media when going over MLA and AP style. If you’re in doubt, here’s a simple guide for ways to attribute credit online.
Facebook and Twitter make it very easy for one to give credit for sharing the content of others. The tag option is great for not only the person sharing the content, but it also gives a signal to the author when their thoughts or ideas are being redistributed.
The Power of the Via
Never underestimate the power of using the “via.” Found an interesting article from @BuzzFeed? Give credit by writing a summary or your thoughts on the content and then add the powerful “via @Buzzfeed” at the end of your post. Not only will all your citation bases be covered, but using the “via” can open the door to replies, favorites, retweets, followers and other types of engagement on social media. You can use the “via” in almost any situation on social media. It’s appropriate when posting an article, reposting a photo or video and especially useful when sharing infographics. “Via” is my absolute go-to when creating content, because I know credit will always be given when I use it followed by tagging the author.
The Retweet, Share, Repost and Repin
When in doubt, the easiest way to give credit to another source is to just simply retweet or share the post from Twitter or Facebook. On Twitter if you would like to manually retweet their content, be sure to include RT before the original or add MT if you are modifying the content. Facebook makes sharing a post very easy–just click “share”. You also have the ability to add your own thoughts to the post with the share option. On Pinterest, a simple repin with an added caption that includes where you found the content is an easy way to give credit. Lastly, on Instagram, the best way to give credit is to either include #repost followed by the owner’s username or to use a repost app like this one here, which automatically gives credit to the author.
Borrowing in Blogs
I handle attribution in blog posts sort of like I would in a term paper. Treat your blog post as you would when citing information from a book in a paper. You aren’t normally limited to characters, so this allows you to be creative with the way you give credit to the original. I highly recommend including hyperlinks to the original post. It’s simple and who doesn’t love clicking a hyperlink? If your blog content includes reviewing someone’s article, it’s ideal to include space in the blog post for a short bio of the author with a link to their website.