This post is a little more buttoned up than usual. Please don't find me a snob.
For the first time ever in my blogging history, I am nervous to press "Publish". But this little pesky problem has been buzzing for the past few weeks. I tried to push it away because I am afraid to write about it, afraid that it might be read in an unkind light and that indirectly I'll leave another blogger feeling awful. But I keep discovering more and more of this. It's like an epidemic! Please know that this post comes from a place of warmth, of wanting us all to play fair. And that I'm not attempting to shame those who simply didn't know. And so I shall start by telling you a tale.
Once upon a time there were two bloggers.
Although they did not know of each other, they were both beautiful, creative and inspired girls. They loved to sit at their desks, white desks with vintage pencil cups, to write beautiful things. Each girl connected with friends from worlds away and added something wonderful to their niche of the blogosphere.
One afternoon, Blogger A spent the day setting up a photo scene outside. It was sweltering, but she was determined. She set up her camera and took a few test shots. Swapped out different props. She stood on wobbly stools to snap different angles. Waited for the sun to go down a little further. Took more photos. Then she uploaded all the photos to her computer, combed through them and meticulously edited them in Photoshop. She then uploaded the photos to her blog and wrote all about the images and her day.
That same day, Blogger B finds these pictures on Pinterest. She loves the way Blogger A's photos pair with what she has to say that day, saves them to her computer and uploads them to blogger. She writes something desperately lovely about her world. She can't quite remember where she saw these photos...so she posts them without listing the original source.
Both girls provided content their readers enjoyed and checked off "Blog for the day!" from their To-Do list. Blogger B saved a lot of time by not shooting her own photos. (Way to go, smart girl!) But, contrary to how it might appear, her post wasn't just hers. Someone else collected all the vintage items for that photo. Someone else toted their camera around in 90 degree weather to make sure those moments were captured. Someone else spent their Friday night editing those photos. Someone else deserves to be mentioned for what they've lent to the post.
Ah, yes. Crediting sources. When I began blogging, I didn't quite grasp that it was legally necessary to list a credit. Especially one to the original source. I just thought it was "nice", and usually did so. But I'm sure I've flubbed a few times. There's a little learning curve when you join the blogosphere--right out the gate mandatory credits didn't come to mind. In time, by reading other blogs, I understood that it wasn't just "nice"...it was what you do. A thank you for using someone's creative baby. You just do it and it takes 10 seconds. Recently, when a blog with thousands of followers used several of my photos without mentioning or directly crediting me, I was so disappointed. Mostly because a well-established blog should have known better, should have set an example for their readers.
We all have rights in the blogosphere. The right to be inspired. The right to be treated kindly. The right to connect with others. And mostly, the right to be credited when we inspire others. Being credited opens new doors--new readers come your way and with that comes new friendships, new blogs to read and so much more inspiration. Sometimes even big, big opportunities come your way because one kind soul shares your name + link.
As Bloggers...no matter how big or small, how new or old...we are responsible for following the rules. For playing nice. If a blogger loves a photo enough to post it to her blog, she will love it enough to spend 10 seconds honoring the creative mind behind it by typing a credit + inserting a link. But if she's fully aware of the need to credit, and yet repeatedly ignores the need to play nice...she clearly don't love the photo enough. And who wants to read a blog full of lukewarm feelings?
Not me, I've decided. Not anymore.
If you're unsure of when + how to credit an image (it's okay! not long ago, I was unsure...don't feel badly!), I suggest a quick pop over to this article at Frolic!, where Chelsea clarifies what is and is not okay. Additionally, here's a super fun chart for figuring out if you should post an image. Go forth and credit, my friends! :)